Programs address lack of affordable housing

As homeowner in the city of Rochester for the last 34 years, and a resident during the first 14 years of my childhood (where my father also was a homeowner in the ’60s on the same street), I have had the privilege of seeing the progress — and the lack of progress — in the inventory of affordable and available homes for people with low to moderate incomes. Even those who want to purchase a home encounter circumstances that require they immediately make repairs in order to comply with the requirements of the established codes to avoid penalties and enjoy their new home, unless they are willing to pay high mortgage rates and high banking rates. The monthly payments together with the escrow account (that includes property taxes as well as insurance of the structure) may amount to $700 to $1,000 for $60,000 mortgages, depending on the terms of the same. For many people with low to moderate incomes, it may be difficult to make these payments. Not to mention the lack of education given to fully understand the responsibilities assumed to maintain the home and the high costs of structural maintenance.

It has not been an easy struggle to maintain the inventory of affordable housing in adequate proportions throughout the city of Rochester so that those interested in purchasing a property in the city could do so. Neither has it been easy to facilitate access to an extensive list from where to make the selection to buy the dream house. Even the statistics gathered on surveys made by the city (last one, Marketing Survey of 2007, and there may be others) suggest that we have a serious problem on the existing relationship between those who want to buy a home vs. those who rent; at present ranging between 70 percent to 80 percent of renters occupying properties in the city. There is enough land available to build new homes but, depending on what part of the city we are talking about, there are not enough investors to change the socioeconomic status and improve the quality of life in many of our neighborhoods that are in need of economic development assistance.

Summarizing, we have several programs in the city of Rochester that provide people with low to moderate incomes access to affordable housing to buy or rent. There is help and support in several areas to obtain housing if the applicant meet the programs’ requirements, whether to purchase a home or to rent a room, apartment or a whole house. For additional information, if you desire to contact me as a worker in the restoration of affordable housing, you may do so at the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership, telephone 585-623-6320. In the meantime, happy search for your favorite housing!

Cotto Jr. is a building specialist with the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership.

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