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Gov. Hochul Outlines Need for Housing Plan at BCW Meeting  

From left: Peter Herrero, Owner and General Manager, NY Hospitality Group; BCW President & CEO Marsha Gordon; Governor Kathy Hochul; Joseph Kenner, President & CEO; Greyston Bakery; and John Levy, CEO, Chair, and Co-Founder, SEEQC

The BCW welcomed Governor Kathy Hochul to its headquarters on Wednesday for a presentation and roundtable discussion about the region’s housing crisis and her New York Housing Compact that proposes to build 800,000 new housing units in the next decade.

“Change is never easy. The status quo means just that—you stay where you are. You stagnate. But I know Westchester County and the Hudson Valley region do not want to be in that category,” said Gov. Hochul to a large gathering of more than 100 business and political leaders at the BCW’s headquarters in Rye Brook. “This is a forward-thinking, progressive community, and you want to make sure that you can meet the needs of all your residents, and future residents.”

“Westchester County and New York State residents suffer from a chronic and growing shortage of workforce housing. Employers cannot compete to attract and retain talent for their workforce without attractive housing opportunities available to its prospective employees,” said BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon, who moderated the roundtable. “This housing crisis threatens our economic future. The Business Council of Westchester commends Governor Hochul for her strong leadership in addressing this critical issue.”

The event featured several business leaders who explained their recruitment challenges due to the region’s housing crisis.

“As a fast-growing chip manufacturing company, we know that housing that is affordable, convenient to our foundry and nearby to public transportation is critical to our ability to recruit and retain our employees over the long term,” said John Levy, CEO of SEEQC, Inc., a digital chip company based in Elmsford. “Governor Hochul’s New York Housing Compact addresses these critical needs and will enable us to meet the growing demands of our quantum chip business.”

The housing crisis affects employee recruitment at all levels, from professionals earning six-figures to the working class.

“The biggest challenge our staff is in attracting staff is housing. The first thing that comes up is the cost of living in New York,” said Peter Herrero of the NY Hospitality Group in White Plains. “We’ve been interviewing people from Connecticut and New Jersey, chefs with top-paying positions. And they say they can’t find housing or it’s not reasonable.”

“If we don’t have stable housing, if we don’t have a stable place to live, we really can’t focus on much else. By making housing more accessible, more affordable, this initiative can help our team members and others meet their basic needs focus on work and contributing to growth,” said Joseph Kenner, President & CEO of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers. “We look forward to the day when this is no longer an issue or talking point that it can be solved. I applaud you for your efforts within this New York housing contract, thank you so much.”

The public meeting was preceded by an employer roundtable where Westchester ‘s significant employers in healthcare, hospitality, biotech, quantum computing, real estate, finance and banking, professional services, not for profit, utilities and more expressed their concern to Governor Hochul about the importance of having appropriate housing to attract and retain employees. Governor Hochul’s Compact for NY Housing was overwhelmingly supported at the roundtable.

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