Town of North Hempstead officials on Wednesday said three zombie homes in New Cassel are scheduled to be demolished and, under funds from a state program that gives municipalities grants for the revitalization of commercial and residential properties, will be redeveloped. NewsdayTV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez; File Footage

On Sheridan Street, two fire-scarred abandoned homes on opposite ends of the New Cassel block sit behind rusted fences, with chipped-paint facades and signs warning locals to keep out.

A five-minute drive away, another empty home at the dead end of Catherine Street has a pile of old tires and unraked leaves in the front yard.

But Town of North Hempstead officials said these zombie homes, a familiar sight in the working-class community, are slated for a new life. They will redevelop the three blighted homes with funds from a state program that gives municipalities grants for the revitalization of commercial and residential properties.

The state announced Dec. 22 that North Hempstead won a $1.265 million grant through the Restore New York Communities Initiative to refurbish the properties, all within walking distance of Westbury’s Yes We Can Community Center.

The properties will be sold as affordable workforce housing to eligible first-time homebuyers as part of the town’s New Cassel Workforce Housing Phase III Development.

Under the first two phases, the town demolished, rebuilt and sold 19 other properties to first-time homebuyers, town officials said. The addresses of the properties that are slated for redevelopment now are: 243 Sheridan St., 212 Sheridan St. and 184 Catherine St.

“This community is full of hard-working middle-class citizens and when they see dilapidated projects or homes that have been burned down, or zombie homes, over time it affects what they expect,” said Rodney Caines, who serves as vice chairman of the town’s Community Development Agency and has lived in the area for more than four decades.

"If these houses stay in this condition for too long, then people will feel like that’s the norm and that’s not good for any community," he added.

North Hempstead indicated in a 2019 report, the most recent data officials provided, that there were 110 zombie homes in the town — with 49 in New Cassel.

The effort to revitalize the New Cassel community has been ongoing, Councilman Robert Troiano said as he recalled prior efforts in the 1990s and early 2000s to bring affordable housing to the Prospect Avenue area.

“It is important that when a house has become a victim of a fire that you rebuild it right away, so people can take pride in their community, and this is how you really go about putting the new back in New Cassel," Troiano said.

Rosemary Olsen, executive director of the town's Community Development Agency, said with rising construction costs, the grant was a boost to their efforts to demolish and rebuild the homes. She noted that the town has additional federal grants for the project.

North Hempstead will have a lottery to select homeowners and each purchaser could pay around $225,000 for a home. The community development agency will apply for down payment assistance for the homebuyers, Olsen said.

“The next step is to a do a property assessment to determine what needs to be done to have them demolished,” Olsen added. “It’s a two to three year process.”

Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena stressed the need for affordable housing in North Hempstead.

“Once completed, these brand-new homes will improve the community, help stimulate the economy and aid in revitalizing New Cassel," she said.

On Sheridan Street, two fire-scarred abandoned homes on opposite ends of the New Cassel block sit behind rusted fences, with chipped-paint facades and signs warning locals to keep out.

A five-minute drive away, another empty home at the dead end of Catherine Street has a pile of old tires and unraked leaves in the front yard.

But Town of North Hempstead officials said these zombie homes, a familiar sight in the working-class community, are slated for a new life. They will redevelop the three blighted homes with funds from a state program that gives municipalities grants for the revitalization of commercial and residential properties.

The state announced Dec. 22 that North Hempstead won a $1.265 million grant through the Restore New York Communities Initiative to refurbish the properties, all within walking distance of Westbury’s Yes We Can Community Center.

The properties will be sold as affordable workforce housing to eligible first-time homebuyers as part of the town’s New Cassel Workforce Housing Phase III Development.

Under the first two phases, the town demolished, rebuilt and sold 19 other properties to first-time homebuyers, town officials said. The addresses of the properties that are slated for redevelopment now are: 243 Sheridan St., 212 Sheridan St. and 184 Catherine St.

“This community is full of hard-working middle-class citizens and when they see dilapidated projects or homes that have been burned down, or zombie homes, over time it affects what they expect,” said Rodney Caines, who serves as vice chairman of the town’s Community Development Agency and has lived in the area for more than four decades.

"If these houses stay in this condition for too long, then people will feel like that’s the norm and that’s not good for any community," he added.

North Hempstead indicated in a 2019 report, the most recent data officials provided, that there were 110 zombie homes in the town — with 49 in New Cassel.

The effort to revitalize the New Cassel community has been ongoing, Councilman Robert Troiano said as he recalled prior efforts in the 1990s and early 2000s to bring affordable housing to the Prospect Avenue area.

“It is important that when a house has become a victim of a fire that you rebuild it right away, so people can take pride in their community, and this is how you really go about putting the new back in New Cassel," Troiano said.

Rosemary Olsen, executive director of the town's Community Development Agency, said with rising construction costs, the grant was a boost to their efforts to demolish and rebuild the homes. She noted that the town has additional federal grants for the project.

North Hempstead will have a lottery to select homeowners and each purchaser could pay around $225,000 for a home. The community development agency will apply for down payment assistance for the homebuyers, Olsen said.

“The next step is to a do a property assessment to determine what needs to be done to have them demolished,” Olsen added. “It’s a two to three year process.”

Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena stressed the need for affordable housing in North Hempstead.

“Once completed, these brand-new homes will improve the community, help stimulate the economy and aid in revitalizing New Cassel," she said.

Finished Homes To Be Sold

Town officials said the finished homes will be sold to families with incomes at or below 80% of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Area Median Income. The 2022 income limit for a family of four is $116,250. The median household income for New Cassel in 2021 was $106,541, about $20,000 below Nassau County’s median income, according to U.S. Census data.

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