OSSINING, N.Y. -- The Ossining Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
Recently it has come to my attention that many of my neighbors in Ossining are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of housing here. The lack of decent affordable housing is a concern throughout Westchester County, but here in Ossining the situation has become critical for families making less than $50,000 a year.
Limited housing opportunities affect everyone: the elderly struggling to survive on a fixed income, the young people just entering the workforce and those of us still struggling to bounce back from the 2008 recession.
My husband and I were very fortunate to buy our home here back in 1991. Ossining was one of the few places in Westchester County we could afford.
Over the past 25 years, I have seen our community strive to build a vibrant business district with restaurants, shops and a farmers market. Ossining is home to several theater and artist groups that continue to work toward creative performing venues in the downtown area. Ossining schools continue to gain recognition and achievements in sports, music and science.
However, in the past several years I have also seen our town heading in a troubling direction with the building of luxury apartments catering to a more affluent population while excluding the needs of the majority of current residents.
Sixty percent of our community pay more than a third of their income on rent. Currently, new apartment buildings are required to designate only 10 percent of their units for affordable housing. However, affordable housing is defined as residents making less than 80 percent of the county median income, or roughly $64,000.
With 17 percent of Ossining residents living below the poverty level, there is an urgent housing gap in our town, and residents are being forced to leave. Community Voices Heard and IFCA Housing Network have been working hard to address these concerns.
Our elected officials must demand and be accountable for maintaining decent affordable housing for all Ossining residents.