PATCHOGUE, NY – January 8, 2018 – Lorraine Messano is the proud new owner of her first home, a three bedroom cape in Central Islip, which she moved into about six months ago with her five year old son. It’s quite an improvement from the small basement apartment she had been renting in Brentwood for a number of years.
“For one thing, my son has a backyard to play in,” said Ms. Messano. “He has a place to have play dates and he doesn’t have to be embarrassed. I’m so happy to be able to give him every possible chance to be successful.”
After being at her job for over 15 years, Ms. Messano felt comfortable to begin the search for an affordable home on Long Island, not something easy to come by. She went to a local bank and the loan officer told her about Community Housing Innovations, a nonprofit housing agency that provides HUD-approved counseling, education and down payment and rehabilitation grant assistance to first-time home buyers.
Ms. Messano attended a CHI-led orientation and completed the education course. She applied for the grant and was approved.
“My home needed new appliances and a new boiler within the first two weeks,” said Ms. Messano. “The grant from CHI paid for those items. Without the CHI grant, I wouldn’t have been able to close on the home.”
In 1997, CHI established its Homeownership Program which provides education and counseling to assist first-time homebuyers through the entire home purchase process and administers grants averaging $25,000 toward down-payment and home rehabilitation assistance to income-eligible first-time homebuyers. Through this program, CHI has made the American dream of homeownership a reality for more than 800 families and has distributed over $14 million in grants. CHI also provides foreclosure prevention counseling, ensuring successful homeownership.
Income limits change annually. In 2017, it was $99,814 for a family of four living in Westchester and $99,277 for a family of four living on Long Island.
“Last year, CHI provided more than $1 million in grants from the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation to 40 first-time homebuyers in Westchester and on Long Island,” said CHI Executive Director Alexander Roberts. “We look forward to continuing the program in 2018. We encourage families to apply for this funding.”
Homebuyer orientation sessions are free and open to the public. They begin again on January 10th in White Plains, and January 18th in Suffolk County. Those interested in obtaining a grant, counseling or education from CHI may register online at www.communityhousing.org.
About Community Housing Innovations
Founded in 1991, Community Housing Innovations, Inc. is a nonprofit affordable housing and social services agency serving Westchester, the Hudson Valley and Long Island. CHI provides housing and human services that support social and economic independence. Programs include emergency and transitional housing, permanent housing, homeownership counseling, education, and down payment assistance, foreclosure prevention education, and development of fair and affordable housing. For more information on CHI, visit www.communityhousing.org.