Habitat for Humanity is coming to Greenport, with plans to build a two-bedroom home in the village.
The nonprofit offers affordable homeownership opportunities for lower-income families. Proceeds from the mortgage cycle back into Habitat for Humanity to continue building affordable homes. Habitat Suffolk CEO Lee Silberman said 324 Johnson Court was transferred to Habitat for Humanity in October or November of 2021, after years of discussions.
“Because of COVID, it took another two years for the actual transfer to take place. There were some issues because this lot is extremely small and the town had to abandon a small paper road to Habitat, to add to the lot so it would become buildable,” he said.
A paper road is a planned road that isn’t paved on land belonging to the town or county. The donated parcel is at the end of a street, next to a privately owned lot with a “dilapidated” cottage, Mr. Silberman said. To stay in compliance with town code, the village also needed to “deed us that portion of the road that was designed but never paved.”
The donated land also had a cottage, but it burned down around six weeks after the property was transferred to Habitat for Humanity. The debris has been moved and Habitat for Humanity is applying for a permit to reconstruct after a fire.
The land was granted to the village from the county several years ago for development, according to village mayor George Hubbard Jr. “The village never developed it so we gave it to Habitat so they could develop it,” he said.
“We need additional housing,” Mr. Hubbard added. “It’s going to be something that will be affordable and Habitat donated materials and supplies and labor and all that … Hopefully another family will have a place to live in Greenport.”
Construction is planned to start in May. Most Habitat houses, which are built partially by volunteers, take between eight and 12 months to build.
Habitat home buyers need to put in 300 hours of “sweat equity” by helping to build their own home and other Habitat for Humanity houses in lieu of a down payment. The program notes that this includes financial fitness and home maintenance courses.
It can take a year to fulfill these requirements, giving up “for the most part” every Saturday for a year, Mr. Silberman said. “We try to have the house finished at roughly the same time that the family finishes their sweat equity.”
He said the average house usually involves around 500 volunteers, although it’s harder to recruit further east on the island.
“We depend on the towns and the county to donate land to Habitat for us to build on. So we rarely choose where we want to build, we just take the parcels that are offered to us and build on those locations,” he said. This will be the fourth Habitat for Humanity home built in Southold Town.
Potential homebuyers should have lived in Suffolk or Nassau counties for the last year or longer; have a consistent source of income for the past two years with a job in a commutable distance from Greenport; have $3,500 in savings and the ability to save an additional $2,000 while the home is being built; and a need for housing due to conditions that are overcrowded, high cost, poorly maintained or temporary.
Although everyone is welcome to apply, the program suggests waiting for future application cycles if applicants don’t meet each of the recommendations. Families must also meet specific income requirements.
The application deadline is March 31. Anyone with questions may call 631-422-4828 or email [email protected].
“We’re the only program, really, in the nation, and certainly on Long Island, that offers a home ownership possibility to families earning as little as $50,000 a year,” Mr. Silberman said. “You can imagine the East End, you have all the multi-million-dollar mansions, but you still need the EMTs, the volunteer fire department, the teacher aides, the home health aides, and so on and so forth.”