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Five affordable homes coming to Riverside

The Southampton Housing Authority is planning to build five new affordable homes for first-time homeowners in Riverside, according to Curtis Highsmith Jr., its executive director.

The plan is to build three new homes on Vail Avenue and two on Old Quogue Road on land acquired from Suffolk County several years ago.

The construction cost is between $220,000 and $240,000 each, and the Housing Authority will seek various down-payment assistance grants to bring down the cost to the buyer.

“The consensus right now is that it’s needed,” Ms. Highsmith said in an interview. “The lack of housing inventory is really systemic right now. We get phone calls on a daily basis.”

He said he had just answered about five phone calls from people in need of housing.

“It’s a need both east and west of the canal, and we’re doing both,” he said. “We’re building affordable housing east of the canal and west of the canal.”

The properties were seized by the county for tax default and turned over to Southampton Town as part of a program that requires such properties to be used only for affordable housing.

The Vail Avenue lots are vacant and the Old Quogue Road lots have an abandoned home on one and an abandoned foundation on the other. They are all about a quarter-acre in size. The existing structures on the Old Quogue Road lots must be removed before construction on the new homes begins, Mr. Highsmith said.

The one-story homes will be about 1,400 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in each, and the Housing Authority, a quasi-government entity, will be holding an open lottery to determine the order of which to work with potential buyers.

“The town has nearly 600 names on its waiting list for affordable housing and the Housing Authority has between 300 and 400 names on its waiting list,” Mr. Highsmith said.

Applicants must also meet income guidelines, which in this case requires they make less than 80 percent of the area median income as determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For Suffolk County, 80 percent of the median income is $64,360 for one person; $74,720 for two people; $84,080 for three and $93,360 for four people.

“Each person selected will still have to qualify for a mortgage,” Mr. Highsmith added.

The Housing Authority has previously built nine affordable homes in Flanders within the past five years and one affordable apartment in Riverside, Mr. Highsmith said.

The lottery will be held at the David Crohan Community Center in Flanders at a yet-to-be determined date.

It will be an open lottery in which there are no preferences given to, for example, Southampton Town or Suffolk County residents, Mr. Highsmith said.

“There will be no preferences but we will advertise it heavily in the local communities” through local newspapers and media, he said.

“It’s been our experience in the past that most of the individuals that apply are closer to the community because that’s either where they work or where their families are located,” Mr. Highsmith said. “You don’t usually see people coming from Nassau County for homes here.”

The homes are required to remain affordable in perpetuity if they are resold and the new buyer must also meet income requirements, he said.

This is done through covenants and restrictions placed on the properties.

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