City Receives $1 Million Grant to Prevent Displacement of Residents

I helped write the grants and served on the task force.

January 11, 2021

The City of Hudson and the Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) have been awarded a one million dollar grant for implementing strategies to address displacement of communities of color. The grant was awarded by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise), in partnership with the New York State Attorney General. Hudson was one of ten cities participating in the New York State Anti-Displacement Learning Network. Since the Network’s launch in January 2020, state officials, leaders, and nonprofit partners have worked collaboratively with local stakeholders to identify particular triggers of displacement in communities of color and design targeted approaches to address them. The awarded applicants demonstrated an understanding of local causes of displacement, a history of collaborating, and a commitment to preserving and stabilizing neighborhoods facing high rates of displacement. Hudson will now implement these high-impact strategies locally, supported by $1 million committed by Enterprise, with plans aiming to preserve community stabilization and allow residents to remain in their homes.

Anti-Displacement Grant Team

The Hudson grant application was led by Council Members Rebecca Wolff and Calvin Lewis, Mayor Kamal Johnson, County Supervisor and Mayoral Aide Michael Chameides, Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood service provider Serria McGriff, Columbia County Sanctuary Movement Organizer Luisa Thillet, and Galvan Foundation Vice President of Initiatives Dan Kent. I helped write the two-phases of the grant applications and also served on the task force.

Emergency Housing Assistance

The grant will fund a new partnership with St. Catherine’s Center for Children, with collaboration from the Columbia County Department of Social Services, to provide emergency funds and opt-in case management to Hudson residents at immediate risk of displacement. Many at risk of displacement can’t access emergency funds because of the existing eligibility requirements. Often, living in market-rate housing or paying above 30% of one’s income for housing creates ineligibility for housing assistance programs. This new program will supply emergency funds for renters who wouldn’t otherwise qualify. At the same time, it will provide gap funding where in some cases it will make someone eligible, thereby unlocking and leveraging additional state and federal funds.

Affordable Housing Development Plan

The grant will also fund a collaboration with Pattern for Progress on the creation of Hudson’s Affordable Housing Development Plan. A long-identified priority the plan will review developable properties, funding opportunities, and development feasibility in order to create a document that recommends the operations, timeline, and partnerships for developing affordable housing.

Expanding Capacity

The grant will fund another priority: a new staff position to expand outreach to people of color at risk of displacement, increase coordination between organizations that provide housing services, carry out the goals of Hudson’s Strategic Housing Action Plan (SHAP), and advance the grant projects. The SHAP identified creating a housing-focused staff position as a top priority action.

The bulk of the grant is reserved to seed a Housing Trust Fund for future anti-displacement projects. The Housing Trust Fund will be created this year and will include spending criteria, governance structure, and strategic planning.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout continue to devastate New York communities, it’s especially crucial that we work together to keep residents safely housed and prevent community displacement,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “We are proud to have collaborated with local leaders and the Office of the Attorney General to create strategies that will stabilize communities and protect residents and their homes. We look forward now to implementing these life-changing plans in each community.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left us on the verge of an acute housing crisis in New York,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “From Buffalo to Brooklyn, the New York State Anti-Displacement Learning Network is essential in identifying and addressing issues that promote housing displacement among communities, such as predatory landlords, housing discrimination, and the lack of low-income housing. I am committed to continuing the great work with Enterprise Community Partners to help curb community displacement throughout the state.”

“This grant is an important step in addressing our housing crisis,” says Mayor Kamal Johnson.

“Too many of my friends and neighbors displaced from Hudson,” says Chameides. “This grant will fund programs that will make a tremendous difference in people’s lives and, in turn, improve our community.”

Rebecca Wolff notes that “the strategies funded in this grant demonstrate that in fact there are tools and initiatives that can push back against the forces that push longtime residents out of neighborhoods. This grant names the problem that Hudson has been experiencing for decades–displacement–and helps us develop tools to address it.”

“This grant provides urgent financial support to households facing eviction due to COVID-19, grant funding to homebuyers, and helps increase the supply of affordable rental housing,” said Dan Kent of Galvan Foundation. “These initiatives bring Hudson one step closer to concretely addressing Hudson’s housing affordability crisis.”

Resident displacement is a major cause of community destabilization across New York. Displacement disproportionately harms low-income communities and people of color, furthering racial inequity and causing increased and entrenched poverty, economic immobility, and weakened cultural ties and support networks.

Displacement triggers across the Anti-Displacement Learning Network’s ten participating municipalities and counties vary. These include predatory landlords and housing discrimination, stagnant wages, housing quality, rapid and ongoing escalation of property values, high-cost housing, lack of affordable housing, high property taxes, deed theft scams, and high rates of poverty and unemployment. Tactics to prevent displacement, such as providing emergency rental assistance and new community resources, will address the specific triggers of each community. Participants will also plan community awareness and engagement campaigns tailored to meet their specific local causes.

Enterprise worked alongside the Attorney General’s office as well as PolicyLink and the Center for Community Progress to design learning sessions and collaborate with jurisdiction teams on developing their strategies.

“Disrupting the cycles of vacancy and neighborhood destabilization are critical as we build back from COVID-19 and collectively advance racial justice and inclusion imperatives,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and CEO of Community Progress. “This bold work spearheaded by New York leaders to help vulnerable residents and fight displacement is well-positioned to become a model for what’s possible across our nation.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already severe housing crisis of displacement, evictions, and housing insecurity in low-income communities and communities of color throughout New York State,” said Chris Schildt, Senior Associate at PolicyLink. “Through this initiative, local government and community partners have come together to develop strategies that disrupt the drivers of displacement and create a more equitable housing system coming out of this crisis.”

The Anti-Displacement Learning Network’s strategies to prevent community displacement are expected to commence in January 2021. Through this program, state officials, leaders, and nonprofit partners will work collaboratively to move the dial on tackling local displacement triggers and developing models that could be replicated across the country.

Learn more about my affordable housing efforts, including new resources, policy, rights and resources, and services for people without homes.