WCA Responds to the Westchester County Housing Needs Assessment
Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) is pleased to see the release of the Westchester County Housing Needs Assessment. We congratulate County Executive Latimer and all who contributed to the detailed, nearly-200 page, affordable housing study which draws important connections between housing and homelessness.
Referencing data points found in WCA’s recent and widely-released report on child and youth homelessness, ‘Making the Invisible Visible,’ the study contrasts county data against the much higher school district data to show that Westchester has significant discrepancies in its homelessness counts. Existing data reveals that nearly 94% of families experiencing homelessness are from Westchester’s five largest cities (Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, Peekskill, White Plains, and Yonkers). There are also 4,523 severely overcrowded households and 72,327 cost-burdened—and potentially housing insecure—households at risk of homelessness, in need of supports and services.
The County’s assessment shows that 11,703 new housing units need to be constructed; 82,451 households need affordable housing; and most importantly, that housing prices exceed affordable levels in every community across Westchester. WCA explored Westchester’s high and rising rent prices in our 2019 Data Bulletin, showing that rent for a 2-bedroom apartment has grown by 19% over the last 5 years, now consuming nearly 80% of single mothers’ incomes and 60% of single fathers’ incomes. That leaves very little left to buy nutritious food, medicine, or any other staples.
WCA is committed to finding solutions to child and youth homelessness across Westchester and believes the needs assessment will be a helpful tool. We support recommendations to develop more affordable housing, expand eviction and foreclosure prevention services, and act on neighborhood revitalization opportunities.
We Need Your Help!
Hold your local and county leaders accountable to the assessment’s recommendations, speak up about the state of housing in your community, get the facts on the numbers and take part in efforts to support children, youth and families experiencing homelessness—this holiday season and year-round.
Stand with us to make sure all of Westchester’s children, youth, and families have an adequate, stable, and safe place to call home.
Published: December 2, 2019