Thank you for Sara Foss’ Sept. 24 article, “Finding housing isn’t easy when you’re poor.” Ms. Foss highlighted the multi-faceted challenges faced by low-income residents in our community as they seek affordable, high-quality rental housing.
Better Neighborhoods, Inc. [BNI] has been providing housing-related services to the city of Schenectady for over 50 years. There is a demonstrated unmet need in our community for this type of housing.
According to the city’s 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan, in 2010, 56.2 percent of all households in the city consisted of renters. Of those households, 38.2 percent were cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their household income on housing, and 22 percent were severely cost-burdened, spending more than 50 percent of their household income on housing.
At the same time, roughly 40 percent of our housing is substandard, per the U.S. Census. We anticipate this need will continue to grow unless counteracted with efforts to improve existing housing and build modern dwelling units for our residents.
Better Neighborhoods, Inc. is scaling up its operations to meet these community needs. BNI and our partners continue to work diligently to build new housing and improve existing homes. We ask our community leaders and our residents to support these efforts. More must be done to ensure that all of the city’s residents have access to decent, affordable housing, and we look forward to working with our community to meet these needs.
The writer is executive director of Better Neighborhoods, Inc.