Orange County Partnership - News

March 16th ABG Program Tackles How Orange County Can Address the Urgent Need for Workforce Housing

MIDDLETOWN, NY—While the residential sales market in Orange County is red hot, sales prices continue to rise, thus putting the squeeze on average working families here and making the American Dream of homeownership for many as elusive as ever. The Alliance for Balanced Growth is staging a program tackling the issue on Tuesday, March 16 beginning at 5 p.m. at the West Hills Country Club in Middletown entitled “Workforce Housing: Solving the Riddle with Public-Private Partnerships.”


The program will feature two prominent experts who will discuss housing issues on the regulatory and planning sides, and from the private investment arena. The keynote speakers will be Orange County Planning Commissioner Alan Sorensen, AICP, and Sean Kearney, vice president of residential development firm Kearney Realty & Development Group of Somers, NY.


“One of the few bright spots during the past year in dealing with COVID-19 has been the strength of the residential home sales market and the multifamily apartment market in Orange County, due in part to the migration of New York City residents to the suburbs,” said Alliance for Balanced Growth Co-Chairs John Lavelle and Andrew Fetherston. “However, that good news has come with one caveat—rising prices, which has just intensified the need for stakeholders to come up with solutions on how to provide and develop workforce housing so that we can retain the workers and the quality of life that so many find attractive.”


Commissioner Sorensen added that workforce housing targets housing affordable to households earning between 60% and 120% of the area median income (AMI). Households within this income range may not qualify for other subsidized housing, yet many workers are still in need of housing assistance.


“Orange County’s long-term economic growth must include the provision of affordable ‘workforce housing’ to enable employers to find workers who can afford to live in our communities,” Sorensen said. “Providing workforce housing near our employment centers will reduce commute times for the worker, lower levels of traffic on area roadways, and enable employers to find the workforce they need to grow and prosper.”


Commissioner Sorensen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has also served as the Assistant Commissioner for New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal and as the Sullivan County Planning and Community Development Commissioner. He also currently serves as the Majority Leader of the Sullivan County Legislature, representing the Town of Thompson and the Village of Monticello.


Kearney has overseen the development of more than 900 units throughout New York State and oversees the management of over 1,300 units of a diverse housing stock which includes; senior, workforce, veteran, supportive, middle-income, market-rate and artist housing. Recently, his focus has been on innovative downtown revitalization developments throughout New York State. The firm was recently recognized by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, who presented the Kearney Realty & Development Group with the New York State Association for Affordable Housing’s top honor for upstate New York on Nov. 14, for its innovative Queen City Lofts development in the City of Poughkeepsie.


Tickets for the in-person ABG event are priced at $50 per person. Reservations are required in advance. Please RSVP by Friday, March 12 to or call (845) 294-2323. All CDC guidelines will be followed, including masks and social distancing.


The Alliance for Balanced Growth is a cooperative effort between area developers, landowners, commercial real estate professionals, engineers, land-use attorneys, construction services and the Orange County Partnership of Goshen, NY. Their mission is straightforward—to present a strong, unified voice for responsible development in Orange County.