Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) joined with his colleagues in the Senate majority, the Long Island Housing Partnership ("LIHP") and BAE Systems to herald the first beneficiary of the Senate's Homeownership and Economic Stabilization for Long Island Program ("HELP").
At a celebration in Huntington Station, BAE Systems employee Cindy Howard welcomed everyone to a house warming at her new home, which she purchased with the help of the downpayment assistance provided through the new program.
The program initiated in 2006 when the Long Island Senate Majority members, including Senator Flanagan, Senator Kenneth LaValle (1st Senate District) and Senator Carl Marcellino (5th Senate District), secured $25 million in state funding to address the region’s shortage of affordable housing.
The program is designed specifically for Nassau and Suffolk County residents. Taking into account the high cost of buying a home on Long Island, the program created by Senator Flanagan and his colleagues is designed specifically for the region's cost factor.
Since most existing affordable housing programs limit participation to individuals and families with incomes 80%, or less, of the median, the Long Island housing market has made home ownership unattainable for some families. To address that problem individuals and families earning up to 130% of Long Island’s median income qualify for HELP.
This includes singles earning up to $82,800 and families of four with annual incomes of $118,300. This important program will be administered by the Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP) and was backed by representatives from the region’s business and labor communities at a recent announcement.
As administered by the LIHP, HELP is a first-of-its-kind, public private partnership that provides help in three ways.
(1) a 3-to-1 matching grant, up to $40,000, to eligible home buyers who are employed by participating Long Island businesses
(2) up to $20,000 to rehabilitate existing homes purchased through the downpayment assistance program
(3) $25,000 for affordable housing in new developments.
Long Island Housing Partnership President Peter Elkowitz said, "Long Island Housing Partnership is pleased that the Long Island Senate Majority Delegation 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."
Since BAE systems chose to participate in the program, Cindy Howard was able to receive $20,000 in downpayment assistance. The combination of $15,000 from HELP and $5,000 from her employer enabled her to purchase her first home. Regarding her purchase, Ms. 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."
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.
For more information about the Homeownership and Economic Stabilization for Long Island Program (HELP), please CLICK HERE.
Residents can also call the Long Island Housing Partnership at 631-435-4710 or visit them online at www.lihp.org.
"With Long Island being home to some of the brightest young minds and fastest growing businesses, HELP brings a public-private partnership that is essential to the economic health of our region," stated Senator Flanagan. "This $25 million program makes the American dream a real possibility for those like Cindy Howard, enables Long Islanders to live and work where they grew up and helps keep families together. That will strengthen the stability of our region and is a great sign for our future."
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