Ashley Santacroce was having breakfast at a local beach when she tuned in to watch the Vineyard View housing lottery on Facebook Monday.
A 29-year-old single mother from East Marion, the prospect of being selected to rent in the newly constructed affordable community on Route 48 in Greenport represented a rare and enticing opportunity for Ms. Santacroce and her 10-year-old son, Namiah , in their hometown.
“Finally something is here to really support the locals,” said Ms. Santacroce, who owns a cab company in town and knew she would apply to live in the community from the moment she learned about it nearly a year ago. “It’s another chance to make a living out here.”
Fellow Greenport High School graduate Shyane Jones can relate. At 24, she’s made all the right moves in life to gain some independence for herself, including landing a job as a recreational therapist at Peconic Landing in her hometown of Greenport. She was dog sitting for a little extra coin when she tuned into the lottery Monday morning.
Even as she’s consistently worked two jobs — and attended Utica College — Ms. Jones hasn’t been able to find that perfect housing opportunity quite yet.
“I live with my parents and they’re great,” she said, admitting they spoil her. “But I’m an independent young woman who works hard. I like to have my own things.”
For Ms. Jones, the wait to find her own place may continue. She heard her name called outside the top 50 spots that will have first crack at the units. But she’s cautiously optimistic.
For starters, some people who applied might not follow through on the opportunity. Others may end up not qualifying.
And maybe a good number of the 60-something people ahead of her might be looking for bigger apartments than the one-bedroom unit she’s seeking. For now, she’s excited to at least be in the mix and was happy to hear some familiar names of locals and fellow Peconic Landing employees.
“This is a blessing in times like these,” she said.
The energy-efficient community, which was developed by Conifer Realty working with the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, will feature a fitness center, clubhouse and playground for the residents of its 50 units.
There are 14 one-bedroom apartments available, 22 two-bedroom units and 14 more three-bedroom units. There are two income-based price points for the units and in order to qualify for the New York State of Opportunity project an applicant cannot make more than 60% of the area median income for Suffolk County. The rental prices and income limits also vary based on how many people would live in each unit. On the lowest end, a one-bedroom will cost $1,056 per month to rent with three-bedroom units capping out at $1,784 a month, according to materials shared on the Conifer Realty website.
“It is such a great spot there,” remarked Southold Town community liaison Denis Noncarrow, who had the pleasure of drawing the first and last group of names called Monday.
In total, there were 315 applicants, whose names are now listed in order of the lottery. Many are Southold Town residents, others are people seeking the opportunity to live here.
Ms. Jones said some of her colleagues who applied are looking to live closer to where they work.
For Ms. Santacroce, who has a cousin who also applied to live in the community, she’s particularly happy for fellow locals who have an opportunity that has been elusive in recent years. Owning a cab company, she said she’s seeing more and more new faces, especially since the pandemic, of higher-wage earners looking to make Southold Town their new home. And as homeownership prices skyrocket, it’s the people who move here from New York City and elsewhere who she sees as having a better chance of staying here.
For Ms. Santacroce andNamiah, however, Monday represented newfound hope for affordable living in Greenport.
After hearing Mr. Noncarrow quickly rattle off a few dozen names, she finally heard her own called. At No. 38, she has a great chance of calling Vineyard View her new home in the near future.
“When I heard my name, I was almost like, ‘What?’ ” she said. “I was very, very shocked.
“This couldn’t have come at a better time.”