County Executive Pat Ryan announced Thursday that the Ulster County Recovery Task Force has identified housing as a key priority.
Back in April, Ryan established the group to ensure a coordinated and compassionate response to the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on county residents. The Task Force specifically highlighted the need for housing for frontline workers fighting COVID-19. At his live Facebook briefing, Ryan said that in the coming days and weeks he is planning a series of proposals aimed at meeting this critical housing need.
Recognizing the current shortage of housing across a wide range of affordability levels and housing needs, and the impact this shortage has on the Ulster County economy and communities, County Executive Ryan announced that he is partnering with the Ulster County Legislature to undertake the formation of a Housing Advisory Committee. The Housing Advisory Committee will assess the causes and drivers of this shortage and to recommend strategies that the County can pursue to alleviate it, in conjunction with municipal, business, and community partners.
Additionally, Ryan stated that he has directed the Ulster County Planning Department to create an inventory of county owned parcels that could be used for future housing.
“The day-to-day public health challenges of COVID-19 have helped reveal some of the challenges that we have always known were there; now more than ever we must respond to the longer-term impacts of the pandemic,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Frontline workers, working full-time to serve and protect us, should be able to afford decent housing. It is not enough to just thank them, we must take care of them like they take care of us. I am looking forward to working with our partners in the Legislature to make this a reality as soon as possible.”
“Far too many Ulster County residents are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 affect their living situation,” Ulster County Legislative Chairman Dave Donaldson said. “Ensuring access to affordable, safe living conditions is a top priority for the Legislature. I am grateful to County Executive Ryan acknowledging and taking action to address this critical issue.”
“Our committee has been working closely with the County Executive and his staff to address the current and coming housing crisis in Ulster County,” Ulster County Legislature and Chair of Economic Development Brian Cahill said. “We share the urgency in the formation of the Housing Advisory Committee and anticipate a successful partnership in working towards a multi-faceted solution for today, tomorrow and a long time into the future.”
“Throughout the Hudson Valley, we are going to experience extreme shifts and housing is at the forefront,” Ulster County Legislator Jim Delaune said “We must start to work now to establish a plan and a unified goal to address this critical need. I look forward to working with County Executive Pat Ryan along with my colleagues in the Legislature to create affordable housing for the residents of Ulster County.”
“As a long-time resident of Ulster County and the president of CSEA’s Southern Region, representing the majority of the Ulster County workforce, I could not be more proud to represent the men and women who have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines each and every day,” said Anthony Adamo, President, CSEA Southern Region. “Concerns about safe and affordable housing should not have to be on the minds of our everyday heroes.”
“In these uncertain times, housing stability throughout Ulster County is even more crucial for our students, their families and our communities." Kate Van Baren, Onteora Teachers' Association, Executive Vice President and Upper Hudson Central Labor Council, said.
There are currently 1,542 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 64 fatalities in Ulster County.