Photos of the Event are Available Here
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today signed legislation committing nearly $2.6 million in funding towards East Northport’s Matinecock Court Affordable Housing development. Nearly $2.2 million in funding from the Suffolk County Housing Opportunities Program will go towards infrastructure improvements, and $400,000 will go towards sewer infrastructure under the Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure Pilot program.
“We know that the demand for affordable housing has never been greater, and after 40 years of delays we are now moving forward on the Matinecock Court development,” said County Executive Bellone. “It was not easy to get to this point, the project faced decades of opposition, but we will no longer perpetuate the segregation of our communities. Everyone deserves access to fair housing in every corner of Suffolk.”
The project was initially proposed in 1978 in a predominately white area of East Northport, and faced decades of intense opposition and controversy, including a trip to the United States Supreme Court over violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
Matinecock Court is the first project funded under the Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure Pilot program. In April, County Executive Bellone announced the creation of the pilot program, which provides wastewater infrastructure funding for projects designed to meet the regional need to develop new housing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
There are 25,425 adults in Suffolk County with intellectual or developmental disabilities and 63% of them live with family caregivers and of those, 25% of the caregivers over the age of 60. The program seeks to address the predicament for many families who are concerned with what happens to their child once they are deceased.
Matinecock Court, a $66 million development, is set to comprise of 146 one, two, and three bedroom units, 70 of which will be rental units and 76 of which will be homeownership units. The 70 rental units will include one non-rent bearing superintendent unit and 69 affordable rental units, eight units of which will be designated for eligible individuals as determined by the Office for People with Development Disabilities (OPWDD). The 76 homeownership units will include four affordable homeownership units as per Suffolk County’s Housing Opportunities Programs.
The site will consist of 17 two-story residential buildings, a clubhouse and a Sewage Treatment Plant on nearly 15 acres, located less than a mile from the Northport Long Island Rail Road Station.
The funding approval comes on the heels of a Newsday investigation that determined evidence of disparate treatment of potential minority home buyers and minority communities on Long Island. Using paired testers as part of its investigation, Newsday found that a number of real estate agents avoided showing listings in many of Long Island’s minority communities to white individuals, whereas they were more inclined to show people of color listings within integrated communities.
In 1981, the Huntington Town Board formally rejected a request to amend the code to permit multifamily rental construction in East Northport, a section of town that was primarily white and zoned for single-family residences. The code at the time only permitted construction of multifamily housing in the town's urban renewal area, where nearly half of the residents were minorities.
In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled that Huntington had violated the federal Fair Housing Act, because its zoning confined the construction of apartments only to a predominantly minority neighborhood. Nearly 40 years later, the project currently has all the permits, approvals and funding needed to begin construction, including site work permits, sewage treatment plant approvals, and building permits for each building.
The creation of more affordable housing has been a key component of the County Executive’s economic development plan to reverse the brain drain and retain high-skill, high-knowledge workers needed to grow the economy. Under the leadership of County Executive Bellone more than 800 affordable units have been created, and more than 500 are in different phases of construction.
Mitchell H. Pally, Chief Executive Officer, Long Island Builders Institute said: “The passage of this legislation and its signature into law today for Matinecock Court is a symbol to all Long Islanders that multifamily housing deserves to be located in all parts of our county. It is time for all of us to continue to work together to ensure that all Long Islanders can live together in harmony and today’s action and funding from Suffolk County is a great step in this direction.”
Susan Lagville, Executive Director, Matinecock Court Housing Development Fund Corp said: “A forty year planned development is finally coming to fruition, providing desperately needed affordable housing for the residents of Suffolk County.”
Pilar Moya, Executive Director, Housing Help said: “Today marks an important achievement for families and individuals in need of safe, decent affordable housing in Suffolk County. Matinecock Court not only addresses the need for affordable multifamily housing but it also addresses climate change.”
Elaine Gross, President, ERASE Racism said: "For three decades, this proposed housing development epitomized the forces supporting racial segregation and blocking affordable housing on Long Island. Now, with the leadership of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and his administration, Matinecock Court can symbolize the appropriateness of affordable housing to every community."
Jennifer Casey, Chair, Suffolk County Planning Commission said: “The Suffolk County Planning Commission applauds the signing of this historic legislation. It is an important step forward in providing much needed affordable and inclusive housing. In order to grow our economy and strengthen our communities, smart planning including diverse housing options is crucial to ensure that everyone can live in Suffolk County.”
Patricia Calandra, Support My Independent Life said: “We appreciate the County’s support and dedication to assisting individuals with DD/IDD access affordable solutions and look forward to creating more opportunities.”
Ed Nitkewicz, Autism Speaks said: “Adults with disabilities and their families are desperate for safe, secure and appropriate housing opportunities so that they, like all, can lead a meaningful life. I am grateful to the County Executive and the Legislature for its vision and support of the Matinecock Plan.”