(Hauppauge, NY- March 5, 2013) – County Executive Steven Bellone today released a progress update on county housing initiatives that he credits with providing a diverse mix of affordable rentals for veterans, seniors, and young families, creating homeownership opportunities for hundreds of first time homebuyers, and contributing to neighborhood stabilization and the renaissance of Suffolk County’s historic downtowns.
“Providing additional housing options for our workforce, veterans and seniors is critical to Suffolk County’s economy and quality of life. Working with our non-profit partners, builders and developers, the Department of Economic Development & Planning, Division of Real Estate, Community Development and Workforce Housing has made remarkable progress during the last year,” said Bellone.
Among the most significant housing initiatives begun, advanced or completed during 2012:
· Senior Affordable Rentals – Contributed HOME Investment Partnership funds on construction of 40 units of affordable senior rentals that broke ground in Amagansett.
· Military Veterans Affordable Rentals – Suffolk contributed $1.5 million in infrastructure funding through the Affordable Housing Opportunities program on construction of 60 units of affordable rentals with a preference for veterans, which broke ground in Amityville.
· More Affordable Rentals for Village – Broke ground in Patchogue Village on a 291-unit development with 67 affordable apartments that redevelops an abandoned and deteriorating department store.
· Homeownership in Downtown Bay Shore – Partially funded the land for 40 units of workforce housing completed in downtown Bay Shore during 2012.
· Homeownership in Southampton – Implemented construction and a lottery for 10 units of new or rehabbed homes in Southampton Town, transferring properties to the Southampton Housing Authority and Long Island Housing Partnership through the County’s 72-h Program.
· Revitalization in Mastic Beach – In the new Village of Mastic Beach, utilized 72-h Program to rehabilitate a number of tax defaulted properties promoting neighborhood stability and revitalization.
· More 72-H Housing Opportunities – Received Legislative approval to transfer 12 parcels under the 72-h program for construction of affordable housing through non-profit housing agencies.
· Down payment on a Dream – Made more than a $500,000 available for down payment assistance for first time homebuyers through the First Time Homebuyer Assistance Program and the Employer Assisted Housing Program. In 2012, 42 families closed on houses through the program, realizing their dream of homeownership.
· Preventing Homelessness – More than $250,000 provided to six non-profit housing agencies through federal community development funds to provide emergency shelter and prevent homelessness.
“In Suffolk, housing is an ongoing challenge, one we are committed to conquering. A balanced mix of housing is a prerequisite for quality of life and social stability, but it’s also absolutely critical to economic development,” said Bellone. “Not only is the housing sector a proven engine of growth itself, but the presence of appropriate housing options has become more and more critical to communities struggling to be economically competitive.”
“As we compete to retain companies in Suffolk and work to build an innovation economy, we must also provide a mix of housing options for entry level workers, up and coming professionals and our older workers looking to downsize, as this will support and strengthen all our efforts exponentially,” said Deputy County Executive, Commissioner of Economic Development & Planning Joanne Minieri.
“Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Commissioner Minieri and their staff should be applauded for their active role in developing smart growth workforce housing, especially in downtown communities around employment and transit centers. Increasing workforce housing will allow Long Island’s economy to continue to grow,” said Peter Elkowitz, President of the Long Island Housing Partnership.
“To succeed, downtown revitalization must be tied to the communities where people work, live and entertain, and must provide walkable access between home, work, shopping and amusement. This is why, adding affordable rentals in the Village of Patchogue is a defining moment for downtown Patchogue and a great opportunity to create jobs,” said Adrian Fassett, CEO, of the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. (EOC of Suffolk, Inc.,) a community action agency that relocated their headquarters and opened a small business in Patchogue with the assistance of Suffolk County and local leaders.
“Many Long Islanders struggle under the high cost of living and often families are forced to leave Long Island because it is too expensive for them to stay,” said Catholic Charities Director of Housing Jay Korth. “Fortunately, with the help of Suffolk County, Catholic Charities has developed more than 1,300 affordable apartments. We join with the many providers of affordable housing who count on Suffolk County for essential guidance and assistance in expressing our appreciation and commendation for a job well done, and we look forward to further fruitful collaboration on economic development and housing initiatives with our proven partner.”