‘Hudson Roots’ Will Help with Rent to Fight Displacement

hudson-rootsIn Brief – Lower-income Hudson residents passed over by state and federal rental assistance programs may find help with a local program meant to fight displacement in communities of color.

Hudson has faced an affordable housing crisis for years that has recently been exacerbated by skyrocketing housing costs from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hudson Roots” uses part of a $1 million grant from Enterprise Community Partners and the New York State Attorney General’s Office to help Hudson tenants with “funds for back rent, 1st month’s rent, security deposits, and rental subsidies,” according to a press release from the City of Hudson. The program also offers case management and support to find affordable housing.

Hudson residents can apply if they make less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI); cannot access rental assistance through other means; and are “at risk of imminent displacement due to income loss, rent increases, building sale, utility debts, or other expense increases, such as medical expenses,” according to the city.

Eighty percent of AMI in Hudson comes to $45,550 or less for a one-person household, $52,050 or less for a two-person household, $58,550 or less for a three-person household, and $65,050 in a four-member household.

Hudson Roots is being administered by Hudson in partnership with St. Catherine’s Center for Children. Those interested should contact Dave Healy at St. Catherine’s at (518) 728-7239 or email dhealy@st-cath.org.

“People are struggling during the pandemic and we’re doing everything we can to get support to people who need it most,” according to a statement by Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson. “This grant program is an innovative solution to long-standing housing pressures.”

Assistance through Hudson Roots can unlock additional rental funding for residents cut off from state and federal assistance, said Hudson 3rd Ward Supervisor and Mayoral Aide Michael Chameides.

The county Department of Social Services (DSS), a partner in Hudson Roots, cannot award many kinds of assistance when a household is paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent, or if their rent is above the Fair Market Value.

The formulas for these assistance programs were created by the federal government and the state with the assumption affordable housing is available in a community, and a household would not need assistance if they chose to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent or rent an apartment above the Fair Market Value.

However, Hudson does not have sufficient affordable housing, so tenants have no choice but to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, or to live in housing above the Fair Market Value.

The Hudson Roots funding can push the amount of money a household spends on rent below 30 percent, opening up funding through DSS, Chameides said. The funding can also push a rental’s price below the Fair Market Value, since the funds are subtracted from the value of the rental, also opening up DSS funding.

Of the $1 million grant, just under $200,000 will be used for direct rental assistance, according to Chameides, while the rest will be placed in a Housing Trust Fund to be used for future anti-displacement efforts, including the creation of Hudson’s Affordable Housing Development Plan.

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