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Jan. 24, 2011 -- A year ahead of schedule, Westchester County has met its first benchmark for delivering fair and affordable housing under the terms of the housing settlement between the county and the federal government.

The benchmark, included in the county's agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), requires that the county have in place the financing for 100 housing units by Dec. 31, 2011.

As of the end of 2010, the county had in place the financing for the construction of 104 units in Cortlandt, Yorktown and Rye City. Three additional units were approved by the county Board of Legislators in the Village of Pelham on Monday, Jan. 3, and an additional 46 units in the Village of Larchmont are nearing approval, setting the stage for the county to be ahead of its next benchmark: 200 units with financing in place by the end of 2012.

The housing settlement entered into in 2009 by former County Executive Andrew J. Spano with the approval of the Board of Legislators requires the county government to ensure the development of 750 units of fair and affordable housing over a seven-year period in 31 eligible communities. The agreement also requires the county to affirmatively market the units to racially and ethnically diverse households.

Having inherited the agreement, County Executive Robert P. Astorino is responsible for implementing it.

"Meeting the first benchmark ahead of schedule is a tremendous accomplishment," Astorino said. "It was done through a strong partnership among local governments and experienced developers, working with the county's team of professionals. We are operating from a foundation of local cooperation and expertise, and that's a formula for success."

The housing being developed includes both ownership and rental units that would be marketed to the public who meet certain income criteria. None of the units are yet available. When they are available, they will be sold or rented based on a lottery.

Anyone interested in a unit is encouraged to start working with a housing counseling agency now so they are credit-ready at the time units become available.

People are also encouraged to register on the county's new Homeownership Central Intake system to receive information and applications for purchasing units as they become available. (See www.westchestergov.com/homeseeker.com) There is no obligation to purchase a unit by registering.

Additional information on affordable housing, including other available resources, can be found on the county Web site at www.westchestergov.com/housing.

The units being developed will be available to income-eligible individuals and families. Depending on the unit (and the kind of financing it received) the income limits are set at varying percentages of the county's "area median income" (AMI). A chart with these percentages based on family size can be found at www.westchestergov.com/pdfs/IncomeLimits2010.pdf. The following is a thumbnail sketch of the developments that are proceeding:

RYE CITY
The Rye Cottage Townhomes located at Edgar Place and Cottage Street will contain 18 fair and affordable one-bedroom and one-bedroom plus den condominium ownership units, which will sell for $150,000 and $165,000 respectively. These units will be available to households at 80 percent of the county AMI. A one-person household can earn up to $58,600, while a two-person household can earn up to $67,000.

Financing: The county is providing grants of $1,356,000 from its Fair and Affordable Housing (FAH) capital fund and $880,000 in federal HOME funds towards the total development cost of $5,761,000. The complex will also include four market-rate units, which will be privately funded.

CORTLANDT
Roundtop Commons, located along Rt. 9A in Montrose, will consist of 91 fair and affordable one- and two-bedroom rental units, all of which will be available to households at 50 and 60 percent of the county's AMI. A one-person household can earn up earn up to $35,650 for a 50 percent AMI unit or up to $43,980 for a 60 percent AMI unit; and two-people households can earn up to $41,900 for a 50 percent AMI unit and $50,280 for a 60 percent AMI unit. There also will be a unit for the superintendent. Eighty-three units in the complex will count towards the county's commitment to help develop 750 units of fair and affordable housing goal. Rents are expected to range from $870 to $1,067 for a one-bedroom unit and from $1,035 to $1,270 for a two-bedroom unit.

Financing: The county is providing loans of $5,474,000 in FAH funds and $1,607,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and a grant of $1,659,000 in New Homes Land Acquisition (NHLA) funds towards the total development cost of more than $30 million.

YORKTOWN
The Freedom Gardens for the Handicapped development will provide three fair and affordable rental units for physically handicapped households at or below 60 percent of the AMI, in a new building on a portion of their approximately 5-acre site located at 1680 Strawberry Road in Mohegan Lake. The apartments will rent for $1,353 a month, with additional assistance being provided through the Section 8 voucher program.

Financing: The county is providing a grant of $225,000 of federal HOME funds toward the total development cost of $952,000.

PELHAM
A three-family house located on First Avenue is being renovated to provide three fair and affordable units. One unit will be for a homeowner with an income at or below 80 percent of the AMI, while the other units will be rented to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the AMI. The one-bedroom apartment is expected to rent for $1,130 a month and the two-bedroom apartment is expected to rent for $1,347 a month.

Financing: The county is providing $120,000 in FAH funds towards the total cost of renovations, which is $565,000.

LARCHMONT
The development, to be located at 2101-2105 Palmer Ave. in central Larchmont, will offer 51 one- and two-bedroom fair and affordable condominium-ownership units. These units will be available for households at 80 percent of the county's AMI. A total of 46 units will count towards the goal of 750. Units are projected to sell for between $155,000 and $170,000 for one bedrooms and between $215,000 and $241,200 for two- bedroom units.

Financing: The county is providing grants of $5,673,000 in FAH funds, $267,000 in NHLA funds and $1,025,000 in federal HOME funds towards the total development cost of about $20 million.