Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks in New York City on July...

 Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks in New York City on July 31.  Credit: Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago

ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday invited local governments to apply to be deemed “certified pro-housing communities” by showing they are increasing or planning to increase housing. That designation would give the communities preference in winning a piece of $650 million in state funds.

The money — discretionary funding for the governor — will be used to encourage communities to participate in addressing the affordable housing crisis by approving housing development for all price ranges. Her effort has a particular focus on opening up Long Island and Westchester County to the development of more apartments, condominiums and houses.

Some of the funds she will use will come from the Long Island Investment Fund. That fund has provided grants for transformative projects on the Island including turning blighted areas into new development in high tech and other industries. Last year the fund totaled $350 million.

Hochul said 800,000 more housing units statewide must be built so young New Yorkers won’t continue to be forced out of the housing market in which they grew up and senior citizens won’t need to leave their family homes. She also said more affordable housing is needed to attract more residents and employers to grow New York state.

“Communities willing to help us solve the housing crisis should be first in line for state discretionary funding,” Hochul said Thursday. “Increasing the housing supply in New York is critical, and I’m using every tool a governor has at her disposal to make an impact.”

She said she will visit the certified pro-housing communities in coming months, which could draw more attention to her housing effort.

Hochul had previously announced the plan to use discretionary funding to entice communities to attract more housing and consider loosening some local zoning laws.

The State Legislature prompted by local government officials led by those on Long Island had blocked Hochul’s proposed “housing compact” in the spring. Suburban leaders opposed part of Hochul’s proposal would have created a state board that could overrule local zoning officials who block new housing projects.

AfterwardHochul took a series of executive actions on housing, including turning vacant or little-used state land over to housing development, providing $250 million to help communities pay for infrastructure required by more housing, and changes in government regulations to spur housing development.

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