Southold to get affordable house through county program

Southold Town may soon get its first affordable house through a Suffolk County program designed to turn repossessed properties over to local communities.

The county 72H affordable housing program has turned over many properties whose owners have defaulted on taxes owed to municipalities, which partner with affordable housing programs to offer homes to low-income families.

Southold plans to accept the gift of a .26-acre property on an unnamed private road just west of Greenport Village, and plans to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk County to build a house there for a needy family.

Suffolk Habitat for Humanity director Les Scheinfeld, Southold principal planner Mark Terry and Southold deputy supervisor Phillip Beltz presented the proposal to the Town Board at a work session Tuesday morning.

Mr. Terry told board members the property could be built on, as there is a less than 1 percent chance of flooding there.

Mr. Scheinfeld said construction of the house will cost his all-volunteer organization about $100,000, which will be recouped through a interest-free $100,000 mortgage paid by the family selected to live there. He said his group would work within Southold’s income eligibility guidelines and would give Southold Town residents priority in the selection process.

Mr. Scheinfeld added that Habitat for Humanity uses many different methods to ensure that houses remains affordable, including holding a stake in the property so that if it is sold, much of the appreciation will be used by Habitat for Humanity to continue its programs, or by a deed covenant requiring that the house be sold at an affordable price to another family that’s eligible for affordable housing.

He said the house will be built within the next three years.

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