Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The State of the State and Hudson

Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State address this afternoon, and there were a couple of initiatives outlined in her speech that seem particularly relevant to Hudson. The entire speech can be heard on YouTube

The major themes of the address had to do with improving the lives of New Yorkers: making New York safer and more affordable, providing more jobs and opportunities, and protecting basic human rights. Of particular interest, Hochul declared the era of ignoring the needs of mentally disturbed individuals was over and announced "the most significant change since the deinstitutionalization era of the 1970s." She said her administration was prepared to invest $1 billion to make critical policy changes relating to mental health care. Among the goals of the plan she outlined was the creation of 3,500 new units of supportive housing. 

This announcement resonates for Hudson in a couple of ways. In his report to the Common Council last night, Chief Ed Moore noted that December saw a spike in calls to the police about emotionally disturbed people. There were seventeen such calls. Also, it will be remembered that Eric Galloway has twice, in 2010 as the Lantern Foundation and in 2012 as the Galvan Foundation, proposed a supportive housing project in Hudson--the first to be constructed at the corner of Warren and Fifth streets, the second to be created in the old Hudson Orphan Asylum at State and Seventh streets, a building that has since been demolished. It's been a decade since such a plan has been proposed, but the new level of financial commitment at the state level may revive the idea.

In her State of the State address, Hochul also announced the New York Housing Compact, "a groundbreaking strategy to catalyze housing development we need for our communities to thrive, our economy to grow, and our state to prosper." The goal of the compact is to build 800,000 new homes in the next decade. Every locality in the state will have a target for building new homes. The target for upstate communities is to increase housing units by 1 percent every three years; for downstate, the target is an increase of 3 percent every three years. 

Hochul described the compact as being "laser focused on transit-oriented development." For that reason, she said, "Any municipality with a train station will rezone the area within half a mile to allow for the creation of new housing." It seemed she was only talking about municipalities with MTA stations not Amtrak stations, but that wasn't entirely clear. People do commute to New York City on Amtrak.

There is much of interest in Hochul's State of the State address, and listening to the entire speech is recommended. Click here to access the speech on YouTube.

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