Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone addresses those gathered for the ceremonial signing...

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone addresses those gathered for the ceremonial signing of legislation requiring any affordable housing development that receives county funding to set aside units for veterans and individuals with disabilities at the H. Lee Dennison County Office Building on Friday. Credit: John Roca

Seth Kasden, a grocery store worker who has intellectual disabilities, lives independently in a safe and clean studio apartment at Riverview Lofts, an affordable housing complex in downtown Riverhead.

Kasden, who pays the monthly $1,600 rent in part through assistance from the nonprofit East End Disabilities Associates, wants other people with disabilities to know that with the right support they can do the same.

“What you need to do is to keep fighting, never give up,” Kasden said.

A new county law will stipulate that others with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as Suffolk veterans have the same opportunity as Kasden.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, county officials and advocates for veterans and those with disabilities celebrated two new pieces of county legislation that will require more affordable housing for those populations during a ceremonial bill signing in Hauppauge on Friday.

One law says that any affordable housing project that receives county workforce housing funding must set aside at least five units or 10% of the project, whichever is less, for veterans. The other stipulates that those projects must also set aside the same number of units for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as the same number of units that are either ground floor or elevator accessible.

Both bills, sponsored by Legis. Nick Caracappa (C-Selden), were unanimously passed by the legislature at the December general meeting and officially signed into law by Bellone in January.

“That's going to impact the lives of people, incredibly important people in our community for years and even decades to come,” Bellone said Friday.

The county has funded 26 affordable housing projects with a total of 2,082 affordable units created in the past 10 years, according to county spokeswoman Marykate Guilfoyle. If the same number of projects receive county funding in the next decade, the legislation would create an estimated 130 units for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and 130 for veterans, she said.

Advocates said it could be difficult for those with disabilities and veterans to earn enough money to afford Suffolk’s median monthly rent, which the U.S. Census Bureau from the American Community Survey estimated at $2,020 in 2021.

Frank Amalfitano, president and CEO at the Bay Shore-based veteran housing nonprofit United Veterans Beacon House, hopes the new Suffolk law will serve as a model for other municipalities

“This is a monumental move by the county,” he said.

A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

'Why am I giving up my Friday night to listen to this?' A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.

A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

'Why am I giving up my Friday night to listen to this?' A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.

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