New campaign aims to develop more affordable housing in Westchester

A new campaign is looking to undo barriers blocking the development of affordable housing in Westchester.
A coalition of housing advocates Thursday announced the Welcome Home Westchester campaign.
They are working to reform volunteer land-use boards and change outdated zoning codes that are adding to the affordable housing crisis.
"Some of these reforms can be done without changing zoning code at all. They are just policies and practices we would encourage land use boards to look at the entire picture of housing," said Tim Foley, CEO and executive vice president of the Building and Realty Institute.
The group is also looking to develop underutilized lots like office parks and commercial spaces to create more affordable housing.
Lucille Acocella says she was born in Port Chester and does not want to leave. But after renting a home for 25 years, the 83-year-old was forced to look for an apartment, which proved difficult for her with a fixed income.
"It is hard to find affordable housing around here and someplace you can be safe," said Lucille Acocella.
She finally found it at the newly built Regent Street Senior Apartments, which offers one- and two-bedroom units starting at $619 a month.
"I thank God I got it. I put all my trust in the Lord because I don't know where I would have gone," Acocella said.
The affordable housing crisis also impacts families, millennials and people with disabilities.
One zoning code blocking the development of affordable housing in many communities is overly rigorous parking requirements.
Leaders say the housing crisis is at a tipping point in the county and the time to act is now.
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