County Executive Ryan Announces Formation of Housing Advisory Committee

The committee will address affordable housing needs and recommend strategies that the County can respond with, in conjunction with municipal, business, and community partners.

KINGSTON, N.Y. –  Recognizing the current shortage of housing across a wide range of affordability levels and housing needs, the impact this shortage has on the Ulster County economy and communities, and the potential for COVID-19 to exacerbate our housing affordability challenges, County Executive Ryan announced the formation of a Housing Advisory Committee in partnership with the Ulster County Legislature. The Housing Advisory Committee will assess the causes and drivers of this shortage and recommend strategies that the County can pursue to alleviate it, in conjunction with municipal, business, and community partners.

“Housing has long been a concern for far too many Ulster County individuals and families,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “The Housing Advisory Committee will serve as a way for us to have direct input from leaders across sectors from business, local government, and community organizations working to better understand affordable housing needs in our County. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Ulster County Legislature and the committee members to ensure all residents have access to decent affordable housing.”

“The Housing Advisory Committee will provide crucial insights to ensure all Ulster County residents have access to affordable, safe living conditions,” Ulster County Legislative Chairman Dave Donaldson said. “This is a top priority of the Legislature. I am thankful to County Executive Ryan for his partnership on addressing this critical issue and look forward to working closely with the committee.” 

The committee members were selected jointly with the legislature to bring a broad range of perspectives on the county’s housing challenges and potential strategies to address them. The Ulster County Housing Advisory Committee is made up of the following appointees: 

  • Kathy Germain, Vice President of Housing Services, RUPCO
  • Rick Alfandre, CEO, Alfandre Architecture
  • Hayes Clement, Real Estate Broker, Berkshire Hathaway
  • Tom Smiley, CEO, Mohonk Mountain House 
  • Richard Parete, Supervisor, Town of Marbletown 
  • Laura Petit, Ulster County Legislator 
  • Deb Dewan, Woodstock Housing Committee
  • Erica Brown, Community Outreach Coordinator, Radio Kingston
  • Debbie Briggs, VP, Human Resources and Community Relations, Ellenville Regional Hospital

The Housing Advisory Committee will undertake the following:

  • Review and evaluate the findings of a study of County housing trends, needs, and strategy options, to be conducted by the Department of Planning;
  • Conduct public outreach and stakeholder interviews on housing needs and current
  • obstacles to increasing housing supply and decreasing housing costs;
  • Define and evaluate strategies to increase the County’s supply of housing across housing
  • needs, including a range of affordable housing inclusive of young families, seniors and the workforce; and
  • Make recommendations on County housing policies and strategies and updates to the
  • County’s Comprehensive Plan with regard to housing.

The Ulster County Department of Planning will staff the committee and initiate an Ulster County housing affordability study and action plan. The Housing Advisory Committee will periodically advise on study scope and review and evaluate findings. The study’s contents will include:

  • Key drivers of the housing affordability crisis in Ulster county, including analysis of changes in regional housing patterns, trends in rents and home sale prices, and growth in short term rentals and second home ownership;
  • The impact of COVID-19 on County housing supply, demand, wages and income, and housing affordability;
  • Assessment of the distribution and diversity of housing affordability challenges across the county, including municipal-level data on the housing affordability gap and the share of households that are cost burdened;
  • Assessment of the implementation and impacts of the County’s housing strategy adopted in 2008; and
  • Recommendations for County housing strategies, including innovative approaches being used successfully elsewhere and use of new tools that weren’t available in 2008, and taking into account the impacts of COVID-19.

The Housing Advisory Committee will design a series of public meetings to elicit stakeholder input and review study findings and recommendations and will communicate its findings to the Ulster County Legislature and Executive. 

The committee will hold its kickoff meeting next week with Pattern for Progress, who will be conducting the study. A final report with recommended strategies is expected at the end of 2020.

This committee is a part of new housing initiatives County Executive Ryan announced as a part of the Ulster County Recovery Task Force. Back in April, County Executive 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. 

There are currently 1,765 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 83 fatalities in Ulster County.

For additional information about COVID-19 visit:

Ulster County COVID-19 Hotline: 845-443-8888

NYS Coronavirus Information Hotline: 888-364-3065