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Sep 19, 2012 9:35 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Housing Lottery Brings Smiles And Some Tears

Sep 22, 2012 8:56 PM

There were smiles of joy and some tears of disappointment, and dreams were simultaneously fulfilled and dashed in Hampton Bays last week when the Southampton Town Housing Authority held just the second lottery in recent memory—and only its third since 1993—for the sale of soon-to-be built subsidized homes.

When her son Robert’s name was the first drawn out of the brass tumbling cylinder on Thursday evening, September 13, Diane Carpenter leapt up in joy and rushed to hug the 30-something-year-old, who blushed but smiled with obvious relief.

“We have a newborn and things are tight, so owning a house is not something we could have ever hoped for if not for this,” said Tony White, a Riverhead native whose name also was among the first drawn in the lottery.

“We would have had to move off the island to buy something, probably,” his wife, Rebecca, added. “Or we’d be stuck renting. Houses go for $200,000 or more, at least, in our neighborhood in Flanders.”

The Whites and Mr. Carpenter, along with nine other people whose names were drawn first during last week’s housing lottery held at the town senior center, will get first crack at buying 11 three-bedroom houses that the Housing Authority plans to hire a contractor to build on land given to them by Suffolk County. The lots were seized for nonpayment of taxes and given to the town for affordable housing development.

With land costs out of the equation, a $40,000 grant for each house from the New York State Housing and Urban Renewal Program, and a bargain rate for constructing the 11 homes through a single contractor—the Mattituck building firm Manzi Homes—the cost of the homes to their new owners will be just $152,000 each.

Two of the properties are in Noyac, two are in East Quogue, and the other seven are in either Flanders or Riverside. Each entrant was asked to prioritize where they would like to live, and the lots will be assigned according to the order in which the names were drawn.

Last week’s lottery marks just the third time that subsidized houses have been offered for sale in Southampton Town, and the first since the town dissolved its Housing Department two years ago and handed over the process of developing affordable housing to the semi-independent Housing Authority. The first housing lottery occurred in 1993, when some 30 single-family homes were built in The Pines development in East Quogue, with assistance from the Long Island Housing Partnership. The more recent one was held in 2005 and featured eight town-subsidized homes in Bridgehampton.

In contrast, neighboring East Hampton Town has created and sold more than 200 single-family homes within its borders over the last 30 years.

But on Thursday night, the future was all anyone was thinking about. As Town Housing Authority Chairwoman Bonnie Cannon read through the first 11 names drawn from the tumbling bin, each of those who were in attendance, which was most, bounced up and skipped to the front to shake hands with the officials in attendance. With just 11 houses available, the glee was tempered somewhat by the understanding that in order to get a shot at one of the houses, one of the others drawn earlier would have to fail to complete the purchase. As the number of names drawn approached 20, then 25 and 30, some of those who had not heard their name yet hung their heads, dejected. Some wept.

A total of 55 names were entered in the lottery, and all were drawn. The names of the 40 current Southampton Town residents or employees of businesses in the town were given priority in the drawing. Several of the 15 people whose names were in the second round of drawings were in attendance, despite knowing they stood little chance of having an opportunity to purchase one of the houses.

“To the first 20, 25 people—good luck,” Ms. Cannon said. “To the others, good luck to you, too, and we’ll be doing this again soon.”

The town has already accepted the donation of five more properties in Flanders and Riverside, and Southampton Town Board members have already ordered the Housing Authority to begin the process of developing them as affordable housing instead of renting them, as the organization had been considering.

For those who will get the first shot at buying the houses, they must still qualify for a mortgage, aided in the application process by the Long Island Housing Partnership. The monthly mortgage payment for the houses will be about $1,300, including property taxes. In order to be eligible for the lottery, applicants had to show they earned no more than $77,400 per year for a family three or $86,000 for a family of four. They also had to be first-time home buyers.

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Congratulations, Jr. Trujillo. All the best to you and your family in your new home.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 19, 12 10:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Congrats to all - it's a great program. Hopefully the comments on here won't degrade like they did on another LI paper's site...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 19, 12 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Really? Taxpayers are subsidizing upper middle class family housing? This program is worse than the NYC rent control and subsidies. If you can't afford to live on $80,000 per year, then move. Most people could live on that income everywhere in the country. How can hosuing in ghettos like Flanders be that expensive? Who the hell wants to live there, prices should reflect that. Housing in the hamptns is way overpriced, it is time for a market correction. This wil never happen as long as loacl ...more
By Walt (292), Southampton on Sep 20, 12 9:46 PM
It was inevitable that some right wing lunatic would try to turn something good into another lunatic rant.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Sep 21, 12 10:17 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Sep 21, 12 8:43 PM
Walt, there will NEVER be a market correction as long as the Federal Reserve/Treasury keep passing out fiat currency like lollipops at the bank drive-thru.

As long as the "elite's" fortunes, and "wealth" are financed by the equivalent of "monopoly money" there will be NO correction. Of any sort.
Sep 25, 12 6:13 AM appended by Mr. Z
I mean, just look at what's gone on. You've got a guy who ran the Fed for twenty years who preached "laissez-faire" capitalism for everyone, but used every power of the State to insulate his "wealthy" patrons from the very same market forces. It's enough to make you vomit if you know the truth.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 25, 12 6:13 AM
Hey Walt, Sounds like you need to get a night job
By They call me (2826), southampton on Sep 26, 12 3:08 PM
Why is Walt a right wing lunatic? Why should taxpayers subsidize a "chosen few" to buy a house? How is it fair to the rest of us who have to pay for ourselves . . . Now we have to pay for someone else's house too? What about all those who didn't get selected, those who were brought to tears? Is it fair to them?

Please explain how it is "good" (aside from it being good for those who were chosen) for the town government (the people of the town) to subsidize home ownership.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Sep 21, 12 8:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is that your idea of America? Why should we help our neighbors? Now go back and actually read the article and explain how this is financed with your tax dollars.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Sep 22, 12 7:20 PM
Sorry but you are thinking about the old United States. The one where you take responsibility for yourself and your family. The one where you work overtime and extra hours to get the American dream. Now we like to take money we don't have and give it out. I worked my ass off two jobs 14 hrs a day to get a house and it took 12 years. That doesn't apply anymore we are now a socialist society where everyone will be the same and the govt will discourage hard work. The goverment should not be in the ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 24, 12 8:13 AM
2 members liked this comment
Hey chief, maybe if the GOV didn't print over 6.7 quadrillion dollars since 1991, incidentally that is more than was printed in the previous 60 YEARS, everything up to and including housing wouldn't cost so much. Look at Iceland, fer cryin' out loud. It's the best microcosmic "test tube" study of exactly what went wrong, and IS wrong with our economic system.

The reason these programs exist is BECAUSE of all the massive money printing. The reason our home has been overdeveloped, and ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 25, 12 6:10 AM
Let the free market work. No one is to big to fail. If you cant afford steak then buy hamburger till you can afford the steak. stop the social engineering and the system will correct itself. Life Liberty and THE PURSUIT! not the guarantee of happiness.
By They call me (2826), southampton on Sep 26, 12 3:14 PM
Enjoy the new digs, don't worry about the haters, we'll all be dead one day and
no one will care about the 'Walts of the World'. If you get in the house before christmas may it be the best you and your family will ever have!

This IS the american dream. And yes, we do help each other.
By ridethetruthwave (17), southampton on Sep 22, 12 8:06 PM
Congratulations to those who managed to weather the recent economic "perfect storm", and now have a solid chance of home ownership.

Good luck, twenty years is a long road...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 25, 12 6:18 AM
I hope Southampton Housing Dept does a better job than East Hampton..Took a long time to vet all the lottery winners and more than 1/2 never got final approval so it moved down the line to the next person..took years. Then when the house went for sale years later for various reasons(people moved,families grew) the Town of EH recaptures Very Few and so now Whalbone Woods is Not affordable housing at all..Houses are sold and rented(which was Not allowed in the housing contract) and very few original ...more
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Sep 26, 12 9:10 AM
The richer get richer and the poorer get poorer. And the middle class, well , do all the work for the rich, pay the most in taxes & are scared when they see the poor looking for jobs.

Just remember you can't man a ship with only a captain.

On a sidenote: Congratulations to those who now have a place to call home for their families. And for those who have nothing nice to say; try to have some humility and be happy for your fellow primates.
By tranquility1985 (25), Westhampton on Sep 26, 12 12:45 PM
**The rich get richer & the poor get poorer
By tranquility1985 (25), Westhampton on Sep 26, 12 12:49 PM