Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. (WRO) celebrated 50 years of promoting fair and affordable and accessible housing in Westchester County and the Lower Hudson Valley on Wednesday, hosting a gala at the VIP Country Club in New Rochelle.
Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester, delivered the evening’s keynote address. In her remarks, Gordon offered congratulations and thanks to WRO for the important work that it does, but also hammered home the evening’s theme: “Housing Is Still the Issue.”
“Westchester is a complex and diverse county,” she said. “Often, we are viewed as a wealthy county, but for those of us who know best, looks can be deceiving. Inside of each of our communities looms poverty and people that need help. Throughout all of our municipalities, there are those seeking the right kind of housing. We must remember, ‘housing is still the issue.’”
Other featured guests included Dorothy A. Botsoe, immediate past president of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and the principal of Dorothy Jensen Realty, Inc.; Ira Schuman, executive vice president and a director at Savills Studley; and Bobby Valentine, former manager of the New York Mets and current athletic director at Sacred Heart University.
Since 1968, WRO has championed the expansion of non-discriminatory housing opportunities in the region for low- and moderate-income households, minorities, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, including psychiatric disabilities. WRO is a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency, a licensed real estate broker and a United Way agency. All housing services for consumers are free (except for credit reports and first-time Home Buying educational material) and are funded by government grants, private contributions and corporate support.
Gordon continued: “The new economy requires us to ensure there is workforce housing for those at every level of the workforce if we are going to continue to prosper. We must ensure that decision makers understand that a good economy requires good housing; that housing in and of itself is good economic development, whether it is the construction itself or the provision of safe and decent housing for all.”
According to the BCW Data Exchange, there are nearly 491,000 people in the Westchester County labor Force. Of those jobs 62% live in Westchester.