New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dean G Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Long Island’s Senate Majority Delegation, the Long Island Housing Partnership ("LIHP") and BAE Systems located in Greenlawn today held a press conference in Huntington Station with BAE Systems employee Cindy Howard who is one of the first new homeowners who received downpayment assistance though the Senate Majority Delegation’s Homeownership and Economic Stabilization for Long Island Program ("HELP").
Senator Skelos said, "The HELP program is quickly becoming a tremendous success and a model for the rest of the nation. In a short period of time, HELP has placed 12 families in new homes and committed funding for 75 more. Through this public-private partnership, we are making a real difference for the families and employers most affected by the region’s affordable housing crisis. I applaud BAE Systems and the 26 other employers who have already joined this program. They recognized that we have a shared responsibility to address this challenge. They are setting an important example and leading the way."
Long Island Housing Partnership President Peter Elkowitz said, "Long Island Housing Partnership is pleased that the Long Island Senate Majority Delegation headed by Senator Skelos put real dollars towards an issue that’s affecting all Long Island businesses and working families. This infusion of $25 million dollars leverage with employer contributions will have a significant impact on Long Island's economy. We thank them for their efforts."
In 2006, Long Island Senate Majority members—Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), Owen H. Johnson (R-Babylon), Caesar Trunzo (R-Brentwood), Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset), Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) and John J. Flanagan (R-East Northport)—secured $25 million in state funding to address the region’s shortage of affordable housing.
As administered by the LIHP, HELP is a first-of-its-kind, public private partnership that provides (1) a 3-to-1 matching grant, up to $40,000, to eligible homebuyers who are employed by participating Long Island businesses, (2) up to $20,000 to rehabilitate existing homes purchased through the downpayment assistance program and (3) $25,000 for affordable housing in new developments.
Cindy Howard is an employee of BAE Systems. Through the HELP program, she received $20,000 in downpayment assistance ($15,000 from HELP and $5,000 from her employer) enabling her to purchase her first home.
Cindy Howard said, "It’s a miracle. I’m a single parent and I just didn’t think I could ever buy a house. It’s a dream come true."
Paul Markwardt, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems said, "Attracting and retaining employees is always a priority for our company; however, this can be a challenge in the Long Island area with the high cost of housing and cost of living. "I am grateful for the Housing Partnership and happy that BAE Systems can do its part to make the program a success."
During the last five weeks, six individuals have received HELP downpayment assistance grants enabling them to purchase homes. In addition, HELP has provided $150,000 to place six new homeowners in affordable houses in Central Islip, with $1.125 million pledged for another 45 affordable houses in that development. Prospectively, the LIHP has committed HELP funding for 30 more affordable houses in Massapequa.