Opinion

The response to the housing foreclosure crisis has been slow at best, while the response by Congress was swift as it handed out $350 billion to the banking industry, with little to no accountability to date.

In reading your article, one would think that government was acting to help save struggling homeowners. This article quoted Nassau County as acting to save homeowners but never stated how. The over $7 million in HUD NSP money allocated to NC per their grant actually states that this money is to be used to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed properties for resale. How will that keep families in their home?

New York State and LIers face serious foreclosure problems as Main Street and homeowners continue to suffer. This crisis has been looming since at least 2005 as the following facts state: 1 in 32 homeowners are projected to face foreclosure, 25 percent of all loans made in 2005-06 were subprime loans, the ripple effect could impact 52 percent of all homeowners and lost state/local tax base is projected to lose $65 billion. (Source: the Pew Center on the States)

In my opinion more effort should be put on how we can help families stay in their homes. Federal, state and county officials need to work faster to create options that bring relief sooner than later. The more options that make housing more affordable the better.

What is affordable really? Unfortunately, the general perception of the word 'affordable' is not always the same nor is it always very positive. However, you should know that the income guidelines on Long Island for affordable housing are incomes up to $106,600 per year. That is for a family of four, which translates to 120 percent of the median Long Island income.

A group of Farmingdale residents have been promoting a community-based planning study group called Discover Farmingdale. This is an intergenerational group made up of civic leaders and residents of all ages promoting self-study through dialogue, debate, learning and doing toward a sustainable future. We believe there can be real opportunity by employing the Community Land trust model. The opportunity does exist to save homeowners in foreclosure, rehab and develop 100 percent permanently affordable shared equity housing. There is also the potential to develop other properties that meet public needs, such as health facilities, recreation/performing art centers and commercial downtown revitalization projects. All of which would become community assets under a locally established and controlled Community Land Trust. However, this will require a true working partnership of local government officials, business leaders, civic groups and community residents to make this all happen.

We will continue to promote this civic tool that can help address this issue now and into the future. However, government needs to be engaged to explore the potential of the Community Land Trust model. Only then can we work toward 100 percent permanent affordability as a municipal-civic enterprise in Farmingdale and other communities across Long Island.

Chuck Gosline

Vice President, Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale


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