Governor Signs Senator Hinchey Bill to Lower Homeowner Costs for Seniors, Address Emergency Home Repairs

Michelle Hinchey

August 08, 2022

August 8, 2022: Senator Michelle Hinchey joins Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative colleagues for the signing of legislation to strengthen housing affordability for NY seniors and families

YONKERS, NY – Senator Michelle Hinchey today announced that her bill (S9193) to help low-to-moderate income seniors cover the costs of emergency home repairs through the Residential Emergency Services to Offer Home Repairs to the Elderly (RESTORE) program has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul alongside two bills to expand property tax relief for seniors and first-time homebuyers.

The RESTORE program, which is available across all counties of New York, helps seniors remain living independently and safely in their homes by funding needed structural, electrical, plumbing, and heating repairs, accessibility modifications, and appliance replacements. Recognizing inflation, rising costs, current labor shortages, and supply chain issues, Hinchey’s bill — a priority piece of legislation supported by the Rural Housing Coalition — improves the RESTORE program by increasing the maximum cost allowed per project to $20,000 and extending the construction deadline for RESTORE projects to 60 days.

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Across New York, thousands of senior homeowners are living in unsafe conditions because they cannot afford to keep up with the costs of home repairs, and that is unacceptable. My RESTORE bill will help seniors on fixed incomes make the repairs and accessibility modifications they need to live safely and independently in the homes and communities they’ve always known. I’m incredibly proud to sponsor this bill with Assemblymember Carrie Woerner to lower homeownership costs for seniors and expand the dignity of safe housing, and I thank Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law.”

"I am proud to sign these bills to put money back in the pockets of New York homeowners and help seniors and families stay in their homes," Governor Hochul said. "With inflation and rising costs putting a strain on families nationwide, this legislation will help to ensure that New Yorkers — from seniors to first-time homebuyers — get some much-needed relief. I thank the bill sponsors for getting this legislation over the finish line and for their partnership in our mission to keep New York affordable."

Michael J. Borges, Rural Housing Coalition Executive Director, said, “The Rural Housing Coalition is pleased the Governor signed legislation that would enhance the RESTORE program so that it can better serve low-moderate income seniors with emergency repairs to their homes.  We greatly appreciate the efforts of Senator Hinchey and Assemblymember Woerner in passing this legislation in record time at the end of the Legislative Session so that the changes could go into effect this summer.”

The other pieces of legislation signed by the Governor today with Senator Hinchey’s support include bills to expand tax relief for New York homeowners:

  • Expanding Income Eligibility for NY Property Tax Exemptions (S3085A): Allows municipalities to increase the maximum income eligible for New York’s real property tax exemption to $50,000 for people age 65 and over and people with disabilities. Before today, the maximum income eligible was $29,000 per year for seniors and people with disabilities. 
  • Extending Property Tax Exemptions for First-Time Homebuyers (S8890): Extends the option for municipalities to provide a property tax exemption for first-time homebuyers purchasing newly constructed homes through 2028. Before today, the option was set to expire at the end of this year.  

Due to Senator Hinchey’s advocacy during 2022 State Budget negotiations, over $236 million in funding was secured to address the housing crisis in rural and upstate New York, which will be used to build more affordable and long-term housing for rent and homeownership. Hinchey’s budget push, which is the first-ever comprehensive investment in rural and upstate housing in a New York State Budget, included a $2 million increase for the RESTORE program, for a total of $3.4 million.