Legislator Anker Proposes Development of Workforce Housing to Stem "Brain Drain" on LI


Legislator Sarah Anker has introduced a resolution to make affordable, quality housing available to young adults to stem "brain drain" on Long Island.

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Legislator Sarah Anker has introduced a resolution directing the county’s Department of Economic Development and Planning to partner with State and County institutions of higher education to study the feasibility of building affordable housing for young college graduates.

Anker was joined by, among others, County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun McKay, Jennifer Appel of Long Island Housing Partnership, Community Development Corporation of Long Island President and CEO Marianne Garvin and Long Island Builders Institute CEO Mitch Pally when she announced the resolution last week at Suffolk Community College’s Grand Campus.

The resolution came following Anker’s visit to a Planned Retirement Community in her district when she questioned why the same kind of affordable quality-of-life housing made available to seniors could not be made available to young adults who are struggling to stay on the Island. Anker envisions what she terms a PYAC, a Planned Young Adult Community, to address the brain drain issue.

“The bottom line is that Long Island is experiencing a brain drain,” said Anker. “We are raising smarts kids through an excellent educational system but many of our kids are not staying on Long Island because they can’t find affordable housing that meets their needs.” 

“Just like our seniors, who may have limited financial resources, our graduating kids also have financial limitations including limited credit history, limited work experiences and possibly high college loan debt that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Anker. “Where do they go after they graduate? Currently many are moving back home with their parents, living in basement apartments, or they have left Long Island. We must do more and we are.”

A Long Island Index survey shows that approximately 82% of Long Islanders feel that young people are leaving Long Island due to the lack of affordable housing and high cost of living. 

“In order to continue to build Suffolk's innovative economy we must create housing opportunities for our young professionals,” said Bellone. “This legislation will allow the County to study the feasibility of the creation of housing opportunities on the campuses of our institutions of higher learning. I applaud Legislator Anker for introducing this legislation and look forward to the results of the study.” 

Anker’s Resolution 1533 would give the Department of Economic Development and Planning 180 days to deliver its findings.

The county is currently looking into partnerships with institutions including Suffolk County Community College, Stony Brook University, St. Joseph’s College, and Dowling College.

"For more than a decade, Long Island has been losing college graduates and young professionals,” McKay said. “Today, Legislator Anker has put forth a proposal, and I look forward to reading the feasibility study when it is completed. At Suffolk County Community College we have been working to stop the outward migration of talent from our region. Since 2010, my Stay on Long Island Initiative, in collaboration with Long Island's four-year colleges and universities, has provided $2.5 million of scholarships to help Suffolk County Community College's most talented graduates continue their education right here on Long Island. The program cultivates the intellectual capital of those individuals who have the best potential for contributing to the transformation of our region. We will continue to provide these students with exceptional educational experiences and empowering them to compete and garner employment in the new, complex and ever changing job market and prevent them from leaving our region." 

In addition to helping young professionals find quality affordable housing, Anker noted that expanding housing opportunities to young adults would also benefit our construction trades, colleges and universities.

Share your thoughts about Anker’s resolution below or on our Discussion Forum.

[Source: Legislator Sarah Anker's Office]

Pictured (Left to Right): Long Island Housing Partnership Jennifer Appel, Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun McKay, County Executive Steve Bellone, Community Development Corporation of Long Island President and CEO Marianne Garvin, and Long Island Builders Institute CEO Mitch Pally.