Op-Ed: Town Board Needs to Take Action on Matinecock Court

If you want to know where someone’s real values lie, look at what they do, not what they say.  This past Thursday the Huntington Town Board found time on their calendar to fret over the concerns of horse owners with $2 million homes, but could not bring themselves to vote on affordable homes that would benefit 146 Huntington families.

Projects that are 100% affordable, like Matinecock court, rely on a bewildering array of funding to provide that affordability.  The issue before the board was between two forms of ownership and rental, each of which has different funding structures.  Here are the likely results of the two possible outcomes:

Matinecock Court will be built regardless of which structure is adopted. The affordability levels are set by federal law, so the price of the units will not change.

The only thing that is stopping affordable housing from being built is the board’s inability to make a decision.

Nothing has altered about this proposed change for many months. Many public hearings have been held, and both Housing Help, the sponsor, and D & F development, the builder, have met with any town board member willing to listen. It was supposed to be voted on months ago, but no board member wanted to take a position before the election. Any town board member who came into last Thursday’s meeting unprepared to vote, or claiming they didn’t know enough, or
didn’t have enough notice, is being disingenuous at best.

I urge the board members to go back and listen to the public portion of the meeting. Really listen to Huntingtonians who are telling you about our children who live in food insecurity, our special needs community members who have no place to go, our students who understand they have no place they can afford to live in Huntington when they graduate.

Huntingtonians should not have to decide whether to pay for food or pay their rent. They should not “be afraid to face the new day,” as one person testified. They need an affordable place to live, full stop. None of the people who spoke about their need for affordable housing talked about whether the affordable place they needed should be a rental, a condo or a co-op.

Keeping the current structure will put the owners of the condos at a greater risk of loss in a high-interest rate environment- exactly the kind of environment we are likely to encounter over the next half decade (and maybe longer). Why some board members are fighting to keep that structure is unclear to me. Board members, go see Highland Green- it’s a beautiful, all- affordable development.

Huntington Township Housing Coalition
PO Box 1070
Huntington, NY 11743

Take the vote to change to a limited equity co-op in December, and get the town out of the way of this important development.

Roger Weaving is president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition

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