County Executive Garnar Launches Safe Housing Task Force

Safe Housing Task Force

Collaborative Coalition Includes City of Binghamton and Villages of Johnson City, Endicott

With Goals of Stable, Decent, Affordable Housing


(BINGHAMTON, NY) County Executive Jason Garnar introduced today the launch of the Safe Housing Task Force. The County Executive was joined by local mayors and community leaders for this announcement. The focus of the coalition is to ensure stable, decent, affordable housing for Broome County residents.


“We need to come together to take action to make a lasting, significant impact to improve housing for Broome County residents across municipalities. That’s why I am leading that change by launching this collaborative Safe Housing Task Force.”


Garnar has selected Rebecca Rathmell of the Southern Tier Homeless Coalition and Mark Schuster of the Broome County Health Department’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program to co-chair the Task Force.

“Few things shape the opportunities available to us more than housing. Research is increasingly demonstrating that housing is THE foundation for individual and community health, educational attainment, and economic mobility, yet local families facing extreme poverty are often forced to settle for substandard housing conditions due solely to their income status,” Rathmell and Schuster said.

Rathmell and Schuster agreed it’s important to bring the community and the policymakers together to change policies. “Many groups have been talking about this issue and its impact for some time. Non-profit organizations and public agencies from every sector have expanded and targeted resources to assist families facing housing insecurity, yet the number of households without access to a stable, decent, affordable home has increased in Broome County by more than 20% since 2015.”

The Task Force will be split into the Core Group and the Executive Committee. The Core Group is comprised of department representatives, community leaders, and local housing experts to formally present policy changes to the elected officials on the Executive Committee. Those invited to be on the Executive Committee include Binghamton Mayor Rich David, Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie, Endicott Mayor John Bertoni, and Broome County Legislator Mary Kaminsky.


Mayor Rich David said, “Access to safe, quality, affordable housing is important to residents of every neighborhood in Binghamton and across Broome County. Housing affects school outcomes, public safety and overall quality of life. By having experienced professionals in health and housing working with municipal decision makers, we have the right people at the table to enact real change to benefit our community.”


Mayor Greg Deemie said, “The Village of Johnson City is excited to be part of the Safe Housing Task Force.  The Task Force will provide us with expert recommendations that can be explored, developed and taken back to our board for discussion and action. It is my goal to  provide the residents of Johnson City, especially our most vulnerable populations, with access to safe, affordable and equitable housing  opportunities.”


Broome County Legislator Mary Kaminsky said, “The need for this task force is obvious. Families are living in abhorrent conditions and fear eviction if they argue with their landlords or report those conditions. We have to do better. I am honored to be chosen by the County Executive to participate in this team effort.”

09/20/2018 - 10:41am