Delgado talks affordable housing

September 5, 2019
In The News

HUDSON — U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, visited Hudson on Wednesday to discuss one of the most talked-about topics in the city these days as rents and home prices continue to rise: a lack of affordable housing.

The freshman Democratic congressman from Rhinebeck spoke to a crowd of more than 70 gathered at Bliss Towers, 41 N. Second St., and then listened to them as they talked about the roadblocks to affordable housing.

At times, the conversation veered to other topics, such as transportation issues and this year’s reassessments.

Delgado started the evening off with some sobering statistics: Half of all households are sharing 1.3 percent of all the wealth in the country and two-thirds of people are living paycheck to paycheck.

The federal government has not been focusing on those people that fall within the “gap,” Delgado said, or, those people who do not make enough to afford their own home but make too much to qualify for low-income housing.

“We haven’t done any real investment in housing in this country in 30-plus years,” Delgado said. “We haven’t done any meaningful, robust and national program to the cost of housing, despite the fact we are in the middle of a housing crisis.”

Delgado urged the audience to marshal the same amount of support used in the climate change movement to tackle affordable housing.

“We’re talking about upward mobility,” Delgado said. “If you don’t have a home, there is no way to elevate yourself. There is no way to improve not just your condition, but your children’s.”

The point of the evening was to hear from constituents about their personal experiences.

It’s imperative the federal government expand the time frame to apply for federal tax credits for investors and contractors engaging in affordable housing projects, Hudson resident Bill Hughes told the congressman. Delgado agreed.

Delgado announced his intentions on making it a priority to better regulate how businesses invest in the community so that local residents are not pushed out. He also announced he wants to tackle tenants’ rights on the federal level.

In terms of public housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding has not increased, but it has been going down, Delgado said in response to a question from 2nd Ward Alderman Tiffany Garriga about the state of public housing.

“As the need is increasing, the funding to enable to address the need is declining,” Delgado said.

Delgado took the opportunity to reiterate his opposition to a provision of the Republican tax reform package that capped the State and Local Tax, or SALT, deduction. He wants to see the reform reversed to put more money back in pockets of taxpayers, he said. Those funds could help offset tax increases at the local level.

“We have written a letter to the president and I’ve introduced legislation to rollback that cap,” Delgado said. But he faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, which advocated for the tax reform package.

Delgado’s visit was co-hosted by 1st Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson and 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael Chameides.

“One of the things we wanted to do in hosting this event is make sure that our congressman hears from the people that are being affected by a housing issue,” Johnson said. “It’s different when we get statistics and different things like that then when you hear a person’s story and you put a face to that story.