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Susan Baldridge, center, shown here with her daughter Felicia and brother Michael, was one of the winners in Smithtown’s housing lottery. Photo by Susan Risoli

There were applause and cheers at the Town of Smithtown’s March 11 affordable housing lottery for seven new homes located at Country Pointe Woods at Smithtown.

LIHP executive vice president James Britz and LIHP executive assistant Linda Mathews draw names for Smithtown’s March 11 housing lottery. Photo by Susan Risoli

Sixty people applied for the chance to qualify to purchase the owner-occupied, one- and two-bedroom units located on Route 111. The average projected purchase price is estimated to be $350,100. Twenty-one people attended the lottery, which was offered by the town together with Long Island Housing Partnership and 347 Building Company LLC.

The drawing of names was held at town hall. Applicants did not have to be present to be considered, and their housing applications were ranked and will be processed in the order in which their names were drawn.

Smithtown adopted a Municipal Workforce Housing Policy in October 2017, in accordance with New York State’s Long Island Workforce Housing Act. The policy requires developers who build subdivisions of five or more units to create 10 percent of the development for affordable housing.

To be eligible to participate in the affordable housing lottery program, an applicant must be a first-time homebuyer and must meet all program requirements including a total household income not to exceed 130 percent of the area median income for Nassau and Suffolk counties. Applicants must have an acceptable credit history as defined by the program’s guidelines.

At the March 11 lottery drawing, LIHP executive vice president James Britz said housing lotteries help people who otherwise might not be able to afford to live in Suffolk County and specifically in the Town of Smithtown. Attracting these people to live and work in the area “is a critical component in helping municipalities continue to grow,” he said. Those who apply for the Town of Smithtown housing lottery are “a very good combination of different age groups and generations,” Britz said.

Susan Baldridge, 44, was No. 10 in the drawing, and she proudly proclaimed herself “Smithtown born and raised.” Baldridge currently is renting a place in Smithtown. She is a single mother with two daughters and said the opportunity to own a home in the town she loves “seems like fate.” The mother brought her brother Michael — “my good luck charm” — to the drawing, as well as her daughter Felicia.

People that benefit from affordable housing lotteries, said Town of Smithtown supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R), are young people who grew up on Long Island but can’t afford to live here.

“This is a very expensive place to live,” he said, adding he believes affordable housing “can work to keep our talented young people. It’s been proven to work in other municipalities.”

The town’s next housing lottery will be held March 26 at 10 a.m. at town hall. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. March 22. The housing to be offered will be three one-bedroom rental units and one two-bedroom rental unit at the 36-unit Hudson Place at Kings Park development.

The second Harborfield Estates house to be raffled off in a housing lottery by the Town of Huntington. Photo from the Town of Huntington

By David Luces

More than 800 first-time homeowners will have a second chance at landing a contract to purchase an affordable home in Greenlawn.

After a successful housing lottery for Harborfield Estates last September, the Town of Huntington has begun accepting applications Jan. 15 from those interested in purchasing a second single-family home in the development.

‘Once again, a very lucky individual or family will have the opportunity to purchase a beautiful new home at an affordable price.’

—Leah Jefferson

First-time home buyers can file paperwork through Feb. 15 to place their names in the housing lottery for the four-bedroom, 2½-bathroom house priced at $350,125. The Greenlawn housing complex is a collection of 47 single-family homes on half-acre plots ordinarily starting at $800,000 each, according to the development’s website. A lottery will be held March 5 to choose at random an individual or family who will be
offered the opportunity to purchase the property.

“Once again, a very lucky individual or family will have the opportunity to purchase a beautiful new home at an affordable price,” Leah Jefferson, director of the Huntington Community Development Agency, oversees the town’s Affordable Housing Program said in a press release. “Homeownership is the American dream, and the Community Development Agency is looking forward to assisting someone with making that dream a reality.”

Lauren Lembo, Huntington’s spokeswoman, said the town had approximately 100 people who immediately signed up when the application process opened at midnight Jan. 15. The town received more than 800 applications for the first lottery house last summer.

“All of the people who signed up for the first lottery in September were notified, as they would have to sign up again for this one,” Lembo said. “We also notified past applicants and with the new income requirements, more people qualify.”

In order to qualify, those interested must be first-time homebuyers whom U.S. Housing and Urban Development defines as a person who has never owned a home, has not owned a home in the last three years or is a displaced homemaker. The purchaser must also provide documentation that their total income — including the salary of all adults age 18 and older, overtime, bonuses, pensions, Social Security, tips, etc. — does not exceed 80 percent of the area’s average median income of $98,050 for a single individual, increasing to $140,500 for a family of four, in accordance with federal guidelines set by HUD.

“All of the people who signed up for the first lottery in September were notified, as they would have to sign up again for this one.”

— Lauren Lembo

Lembo said all applicants must be able to secure a mortgage on their own. In addition to mortgage payments, the town has estimated potential owners will pay $9,700 annually in real estate taxes and $460 in homeowner association fees, which will be billed twice a year.

The two-story house constructed by developer Island Estate Homes will be a little more than 2,800 square feet and move-in ready by the fall 2019, according to Lembo. Priority will be given to applicants who are current residents or employed by a business located in the Town of Huntington, and nonresidents who can show they have relatives living in the Town of Huntington. Applicants who do not meet the criteria are welcome to enter the town’s affordable housing lottery as second priority.

Lembo said they have a computer set up in the CDA office at Town Hall and staff to assist if someone has trouble filling out the online application.

Anyone with questions regarding the application guidelines should contact the Huntington CDA at 631-351-2884.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, left of center, draws names in lottery for the San Remo affordable home. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Dozens of people crowded into the Town of Smithtown’s board room at 2 p.m. July 31 waiting eagerly for their name to be called.

Neil Coleman, of Lake Ronkonkoma, walked into the room and casually replied “Here,” as he had not yet realized his name was the first drawn in a lottery for the opportunity to purchase an affordable San Remo house — the first to be raffled off in Smithtown under New York State’s Long Island Workforce Housing Act.

Neil Coleman, 25, of Lake Ronkonkoma. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

“I was shocked,” he said. “I had barely made it through the door. I understand it was a lottery. It was luck of the draw, and I was the one picked today.”

Coleman, 25, works as an electrician for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 25 union. He lives with family members in Ronkonkoma and said he’s spent the last year and a half searching through real estate listings trying to find affordable housing.

“It’s daunting,” he said. “It’s difficult to find affordable housing at a young age.”

Coleman said in June he stumbled upon Long Island Housing Partnership’s website while searching for grant programs or assistance in obtaining housing. The Hauppauge-based nonprofit organization has helped aid more than 35,000 residents looking for affordable rentals or housing since 1988, according to its president and CEO Peter Elkowitz.

“It’s really important for us to recognize that affordable housing is a crucial issue here on Long Island,” Elkowitz said. “We all have family members who are living with us or who may not be on Long Island anymore. It’s important to keep our workforce here.”

LIHP worked in conjunction with Smithtown’s elected officials to host the lottery for the newly constructed 3-
bedroom, 1.5-bathroom workforce housing built on Locust Drive in Kings Park held on Tuesday. In order to qualify, applicants’ income can be no more than 120 percent of the median household income for Nassau-Suffolk counties as set by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Guidelines. For 2018, this limit is set for $112,500 for two individuals, increasing to $140,050 for a family of four. There were 39 families who applied for the chance to purchase the San Remo home by June 15.

This 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom home in San Remo was raffled off under the town’s workforce housing program. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for a family to be successful in coming into Smithtown and living in a beautiful, affordable home,” Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said.

Coleman said he has a German shepherd that will be coming with him if he’s approved to move in the home. He must provide LIHP with income documentation and pass a credit check to demonstrate he meets the program’s requirements, according to Elkowitz, or the opportunity will pass to the next person on the list. Each applicant who entered the lottery was assigned a number as their name was pulled and will receive a letter documenting their ranking in the mail.

“This is the first of many units that will be built with an affordable price tag for our residents to come,” Wehrheim said.

The supervisor said construction is currently underway on seven more affordable workplace homes in the new Country Pointe Woods Smithtown development, off the intersection of Route 347/Smithtown Bypass and Route 111. The sale of these units will also be determined via lottery in conjunction with LIHP at a future date.

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