Long Island Workforce Housing Act (2015-MR-4)

Issued Date
January 08, 2016

[read complete report - pdf]

We also released eight letter reports to the following local governments: Towns of Babylon [pdf], Brookhaven [pdf], Huntington [pdf], Islip [pdf], and North Hempstead [pdf], and the Villages of Farmingdale [pdf], Hempstead [pdf], and Mineola [pdf].

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether local governments ensured that they complied with the Long Island Workforce Housing Act for the period January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2014.


The New York State Legislature implemented the Long Island Workforce Housing Act (Act) in 2008 for the purpose of making homeownership more affordable for the workforce in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The Act requires housing developers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties to set aside 10 percent of their housing units as affordable housing in approved developments with five or more units, in exchange for local government authorization to exceed existing residential density maximum levels. Developers can build the affordable housing units in the approved development or in another development located in the local government, or can choose to pay a fee in lieu of constructing the affordable units.

Key Findings

  • Four local governments did not adopt local laws or policies and procedures governing overall adherence to the Act and did not always require developers to set aside affordable workforce housing units in approved developments.
  • One local government required a developer to pay a fee in lieu of the developer setting side affordable workforce units but the fee calculated was significantly less than the fee required by the Act.
  • Three local governments established housing trust funds, but one local government has not adopted guidelines and procedures governing how expenditures will be made from the trust fund.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish guidelines and policies to require all developments that exceed zoning density to be compliant with the Act.
  • Ensure that fees paid in lieu of the designation of affordable units are calculated in accordance with the Act.
  • Establish guidelines and policies to govern the use of housing trust funds in compliance with the Act and ensure that housing trust funds are separate and apart from all other local government funds.