The price tag of the fair housing court settlement for Westchester has grown exponentially since the accord was reached almost two years ago.
According to county figures, the deal will now cost nearly $25 million more to develop 750 units of affordable housing and could run some $43 million higher than originally agreed to if a new mandate to build half the units as three-bedroom residences is required.
The escalating costs came to light July 15 when Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino announced at a press conference the county and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is in charge of helping implement the court-ordered settlement, were at an impasse. Astorino said the current cost projections for building 750 units over a seven-year period have risen from an estimated $68,800 per unit in 2009, or $51.6 million total, to $101,700 per unit or $76.2 million, a $24.6-million increase.
A new wrinkle, according to Astorino, came in a May 13 letter from HUD that called for the county to develop half of the units (375) as three-bedrooms due to the county’s scarcity of affordable housing for families with children. This would increase the cost by $42.7 million, based on the county’s estimate of a $150,000 development cost per unit, to $94.3 million, nearly double the original agreed-upon price when it was finalized in August 2009 by the county, the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York and HUD.
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