Hempstead Town officials on Wednesday gave a local Navy veteran the keys to her family’s new home in Roosevelt.
Jessica Lopez, 39, of Freeport, said she had been living “paycheck to paycheck” in a small apartment with her husband and five children after being displaced by superstorm Sandy.
“There simply isn’t enough we can do for our veterans,” Supervisor Anthony Santino said in presenting the keys. Through a federal grant, the town’s housing authority bought a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home on East Pennywood Avenue for $212,000 and will rent it to Lopez, a Navy yeoman, for $2,100 a month — below the market rate of $3,500 — town officials said.
They gave Lopez the keys to the home and a welcome mat, as well as a key to the town in honor of her military service.
“This is huge, this is like a mansion” compared to her family’s apartment, Lopez said.
Lopez served in the Navy from 1996 to 1999, working while stationed in Hawaii in a unit that identified the remains of soldiers who fought during the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia. She said she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Several contractors, local veterans organizations and town officials worked to repair the home and will furnish it for the family.
“I don’t know of anything I’ve been prouder of,” Senior Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby said during Wednesday’s news conference at the house.