Ulster County to prioritize housing needs for COVID-19 frontline workers

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KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Parick Ryan announced that the Ulster County Recovery Task Force has identified housing as a key priority. In April, Ryan established the group to ensure a coordinated and compassionate response to the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on county residents. 

The Task Force specifically highlighted the need for housing for frontline workers fighting COVID-19. On Thursday, Ryan said that in the coming days and weeks he is planning a series of proposals aimed at meeting this critical housing need. 

“We are not making sure that they are able to have decent housing to live in,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have frontline workers working full-time to serve and protect us and they should be able to afford decent housing in our community here and that is not the case and we know that is not the case,” he said.

Ryan announced that he is partnering with the county legislature to undertake the formation of a Housing Advisory Committee. The committee will assess the causes and drivers of this shortage and to recommend strategies that the county can pursue to alleviate it, in conjunction with municipal, business, and community partners.

He has also directed the Ulster County Planning Department to create an inventory of county owned parcels that could be used for future housing. 

“The day-to-day public health challenges of COVID-19 have helped reveal some of the challenges that we have always known were there; now more than ever we must respond to the longer-term impacts of the pandemic,” Ryan said. “Frontline workers, working full-time to serve and protect us, should be able to afford decent housing.”

“Far too many Ulster County residents are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 affect their living situation,” County Legislative Chairman Dave Donaldson said. “Ensuring access to affordable, safe living conditions is a top priority for the legislature.”