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In the United States, the term affordable housing is used to describe housing, rental or owner-occupied, that is affordable to families who work and earn all levels of incomes. Affordable homes and affordable rental prices are geared to low, moderate or middle income families based on the Area Median Income (AMI) levels that the United State Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) establishes yearly. Many working families are priced out of the market in the high-priced housing market on the East End of Long Island.
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Affordable housing provides opportunity and choices to individuals and families throughout the town of Southampton to live meaningful and successful lives. Everyone who lives or works in Southampton deserves the opportunity live in quality affordable housing located in the town. When it comes down to the numbers, integrating affordable housing throughout our community can provide more access to jobs, health care, quality education and overall opportunity. It will help keep young families and seniors in the communities where they live and work. It will also alleviate the traffic congestion because employees who cannot afford to live here must drive to their jobs.
All affordable housing programs qualify recipients based on their income. Since different parts of the country have varying living costs and income levels, the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines an Area Median Income (AMI) for each housing market throughout the country. For example, the area median income in Nassau/Suffolk area for a family of four in 2017 is $110,800 while the median income in Greenville, North Carolina is $57,000. HUD takes into account the high cost of living on Long Island. In the Town of Southampton because of the high cost of living and high property values, even a family making over $100,000 finds it impossible to afford a market rate home. To qualify for assistance, family size is taken into account because of higher costs of providing for a larger family.
There are literally dozens of different housing programs that you might qualify for. Generally, if you earn less than 60% of the median income for your area, you can qualify for LIHTC apartments, which makes up the largest chunk of rental apartments available. To qualify for rental subsidies, where you only pay 30% of your income for rent, you'll need to earn less than 50% of the median income. Many of the programs go out of their way to target even lower income people, even as low as 30% of the median income. Homeownership is targeted to low/moderate and moderate working families who earn 60% to 120%. (Click here to see the HUD Income Chart)
The Town has established a Housing Registry to keep you informed of opportunities for affordable homeownership or affordable apartments. You can apply by filling out an application on the town’s website: www.southamptontownny.gov. You will be notified of any new housing or resales of existing affordable housing that becomes available. New developments will be sold through a lottery system. Resales will be posted on the town’s web site or you will receive email notification of availability. You will also be notified of rental opportunities (not Section 8) through the web site and by email.
90% of potential homebuyers have some blemishes on their credit, but as long as you are willing to put in the effort you can begin to improve your situation. If you think you may have a poor credit history, you should begin the home-buying process by attending mortgage counseling. Free and confidential mortgage counseling is available at several agencies. The Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP: 631-435-4171) and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI: 631-471-1215) are just two of several HUD certified counseling agencies that will help you learn if you are ready for homeownership. They will also assist in teaching you how to repair your credit in advance of purchasing a home.
Though it is incorrectly used to describe all housing that is assisted with government funding, subsidized housing describes housing that has funding for rental assistance. That is, housing where all or a portion of the occupants monthly housing cost is paid for directly by the government. An example of this is the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program (HVC) commonly known as Section 8, where a renter only pays the portion of the rent that is determined to be affordable to them based on their income.
Unfortunately, Section 8 (The Housing Choice Voucher Program) has a negative impression though it's a good program that helps good people. Section 8 is a HUD program that helps renters pay their rent by paying for any rent costs that exceed 30% of the renter’s income. If a renter earns $2,000 per month in San Francisco but their rent costs $1,150 per month, Section 8 helps by paying $550 of that rent since 30% of the renter’s income is $600. This rental subsidy is very scarce and there are waiting lists across the country for the program.
The Southampton Town Housing Authority maintains a waiting list of applicants for Section 8 vouchers or available apartments at the Hampton Bays Apartment Complex. Please contact them directly at 631-488-4220 or visit the Southampton Town Housing Authority at www.southamptonha.org to get more information.
Housing authorities have been around for many years and was the country's first concerted effort to provide affordable housing to lower income Americans. A housing authority is usually locally based, owns affordable rental units and serves a whole city or county. The Town of Southampton Housing Authority (STHA) was created to help lower income residents afford rental housing according to their incomes. The STHA owns and operates the Hampton Bays Apartments for low-income seniors and disabled. The STHA receives administrative funding from HUD for each apartment and the tenant portion of the rents to operate and maintain the facility. The STHA also administers the Town’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program
Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) is a Federal housing assistance program that provides tax incentives to owners of affordable housing. The program does not provide direct assistance to renters and is strictly used to finance the construction (not the operation) of rental properties. Usually, LIHTC properties have units available for families earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). The rental properties are usually of very high quality and are often mistaken for luxury apartment communities. LIHTC is America's most successful affordable housing program having created millions of affordable rental units since its inception in the late 1980's. The lovely Woodbridge Apartments in Hampton Bays are a LIHTC development.
The Town of Southampton does not have emergency housing capabilities. If you have an emergency, Suffolk County Department of Social Services provides those services. You may call 631-853-9930 or after 4:30 pm or weekends call: 631-854-9100.
HUD Certified Mortgage Counseling Agencies:
Offers mortgage counseling and homebuyer education to the general public, free of charge. Topics covered may include reverse mortgages, pre purchase information and requirements, refinancing and foreclosure prevention strategies. Group seminars may be requested to be held at local Town Halls or public libraries.
Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP)180 Oser AvenueHauppauge, NY 11788631-435-4710www.lihp.org
Offers Nassau and Suffolk County residents information on first time home buying, down payments, closing cost assistance, competitive first time homebuyer mortgage products, and tips on how to negotiate with a seller.
Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI)2100 Middle Country RoadCentereach, NY 1170631-471-1215www.cdcli.org
Provides decent low cost housing for the homeless and very low income families. Support services are provided to tenants in budgeting, money management, mortgage delinquency/default, pre-purchase, Default Homebuyer Education Workshops, Second Chance Program, Housing Rehabilitation Program, rental assistance counseling, FAN Program, Senior Program, Quality of Life Program, utility assistance when available and anger management.
Bellport, Hagerman, East Patchogue Alliance (BHEP)1492 Montauk HighwayBellport, NY email@example.com
Suffolk County Down Payment Assistance Program:
Provides first-time homebuyers with federal funds for a portion of the down payment 75% down payment assistance is available towards the purchase of a principal residence, up to a maximum of $14,000 or $12,000, depending on income level. Serves the towns of Brookhaven, East Hampton, Huntington, Riverhead, Smithtown, Southampton, Southold, and Shelter Island. Call for more information: 631-853-5705.
Landlord/Tenant Dispute Education and Resolution:
Provides housing counseling for landlord/tenant-rights and responsibilities, rent payment increases and eviction situations and mortgage counseling to homeowners. Pre-purchase, pre-rental and mortgage default predatory lending counseling. An appointment may be required for some counseling.
Long Island Housing Services (LIHS)640 Johnson Avenue – Suite 8Bohemia, NY 11716631-567-5111www.lifairhousing.org
SONYMA Mortgage Programs
The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) offers five mortgage programs to assist first-time homebuyers with the purchase of a home in New York State. The five mortgage programs feature competitive interest rates, low down payment requirements, flexible underwriting guidelines, no prepayment penalties and down payment assistance. Each of these features is designed to make your home purchase more affordable. All SONYMA loans are financed through the sale of tax exempt bonds.
Low Interest Rate ProgramSONYMA's standard mortgage program for a first-time homebuyer* purchasing a newly constructed or existing home.
Call SONYMA Information Hub: 1-800-382-HOME (4663) for more information or visit the SONYMA website