Luis Castillo drew sketches of homes when owning a house was just a pipe dream for him.
Sixteen years after coming to New York from Peru and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, Castillo and his family are proud owners of a turnkey home in Bay Shore – a subsidized house they qualified for through a program from the Town of Islip Community Development Agency.
The Castillos, including Luis’ wife, Mariluz Alcantara de Castillo, and their four children ranging in ages from 2 to 11, were given the keys to their four-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot home Thursday. Luis Castillo said it was like one of his sketches coming to life.
“I used to draw houses like this – it’s a fairy tale,” Castillo, 44, said in Spanish. “We fought, we worked to make this happen. My family is very happy, we have a home where they can all live comfortably.”
Before the Castillos closed on their new home, they lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Brentwood, Luis Castillo said. Both he and his wife hold three jobs each, both working more than 60 hours per week, they said.
The family’s second-oldest child, Bryan, 9, read a prepared statement at a news conference Thursday where public officials lauded the affordable-housing program through the town CDA.
“Having this house is an American dream for my family,” Bryan said. “We can now fill it with love, laughter and happiness. Today is the beginning of new memories for my family that will last for a lifetime.”
The Castillos' home on Hyde Park Avenue is valued at $375,000, officials said. Islip’s CDA affordable housing program offers low-interest mortgages and no closing costs for homeowners, officials said.
The Castillos put down $5,000 for the home. The rest of the home will be financed through a $245,000 money mortgage at a 4 percent interest rate for 30 years; a deferred mortgage of $85,000 at zero percent, and a subsidized third mortgage of $40,000 at zero-percent interest, officials said.
The CDA, which is an independent agency, acquired the property’s deed through a Suffolk County program at no cost, officials said. About eight families per year move into new homes through its affordable housing program, officials said.
Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said that with the county’s help transferring over the deed to the CDA, the once-vacant property became a great addition to the neighborhood. “This was a vacant, derelict property, and now it’s home to a wonderful family that becomes part of this neighborhood.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the county’s partnership with the Islip CDA is one of many programs meant to provide affordable housing on Long Island.
“We cannot have a strong economy if we are not making sure that we have affordable housing opportunities for hardworking families,” he said. “This is a celebration for this family realizing what is still the American dream, that is to own your own home, to be able to work hard and raise your family in a great community.”