Report finds Ulster Co. housing crisis worse than thought
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman the Ulster County Housing Action Plan Study has revealed a housing crisis even worse than anticipated by many county officials. "I was really shocked by it," said Deputy County Executive Evelyn Wright. Wright outlined the draft findings of the study during a February 2 meeting of the Legislature's Economic Development, Tourism, Housing, Planning and Transit Committee. Wright said the study revealed that nearly one-third of homeowners and half of county renters are living in unaffordable housing and that a significant portion of county residents spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing. The two major factors driving the housing crisis are increasing housing prices and declining wages. "Incomes are declining across the county, except for the very highest income earners," Wright said. County Planning Director Dennis Doyle said the local housing problem is worsened by inflated costs that put most apartments out of reach for all but the highest earners. Housing prices are higher than average for several reasons, Wright said, including a low inventory of housing stock, little construction other than high-end homes, and opposition in many communities to new housing construction. "We simply do not have enough, and what we do have does not meet the need," Doyle said. Once the report is finalized, the administration of County Executive Pat Ryan will present the findings and recommendations to town and village boards, as well as the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.