ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Lawmakers and local government leaders say state funding is desperately needed in order to make living in upstate neighborhoods more affordable. Sen. Michelle Hinchey pointed to upstate communities becoming destinations as a result of the pandemic, and a subsequent negative impact on the housing market.

“It’s been pushed to the brink by people finally discovering how great upstate New York is, gentrifying it, and displacing the people who make our communities so special,” Hinchey said in a press conference Wednesday. “Our communities lack the supply to accommodate everyone, and we don’t have the mechanisms in place to keep homes affordable.”

Hinchey announced a $200 million budget proposal to increase the supply of local housing for purchase and for rent in upstate NY.

“The intent would be to take those dollars, either remove the house completely and work with partners like Habitat for Humanity or other not-for-profits to build new affordable housing, or restore the existing housing stock,” explained Richard Ruzzo, Schenectady County Legislator and Chairman of the Capital Region Land Bank. He added that the new or restored housing would be affordable to low-income and at-risk communities.

A city that became especially attractive to out-of-towners as a result of the pandemic was Hudson. Michelle Tullo, the city’s Housing Justice Director said housing supply is the lowest it’s been in a while, and while the eviction moratorium helped for a time, rent has skyrocketed and market rate is way above what the city’s median worker can afford.

“Our population has shrunk because residents have to leave, so we definitely do have a housing crisis,” Tullo said, adding that supply needs to be increased and housing that is older or not on the market should be rehabbed.

Hinchey’s call for funding comes ahead of the April 1 state budget deadline.