Marine veteran Matthew Charron, right, is presented with a wooden flag...

Marine veteran Matthew Charron, right, is presented with a wooden flag by Ray Harden, principal owner of Ben Krupinski Builder, which built a Habitat for Humanity home in East Hampton for Charron and his son. Credit: John Roca

A Marine Corps veteran, who has been living with his teenage son in a small basement apartment in East Hampton, will be able to stay in his hometown in a new home built by Habitat for Humanity of Long Island.

Business, town and community leaders cut the ribbon Monday on the home on Thomas Avenue that is now home to Matt Charron and his son, Jackson Charron.

"I don't really have the words. It's great that we get to stay here [in East Hampton]," said Matt Charron, a single father who has worked as a digital imaging specialist for The East Hampton Star newspaper since 2009. "There were a lot of ups and downs and I wasn't 100% sure this was going to happen and that I was going to be able to stay here."

Father and son currently share a one-bedroom apartment in bunk beds, officials said. Matt Charron has refused to leave the town he grew up in because he wants his son to graduate from East Hampton High School.

The Charrons will be required to put in 300 hours of “sweat equity,” helping to build houses for others in the program. They must also go through financial preparation classes and volunteer for community service.

Matt Charron will sign a 30-year mortgage with 2% interest on the new home, which was built by Ben Krupinski Builder of East Hampton, with Habitat for Humanity of Long Island holding a second mortgage.

"The homeownership program is built on giving a hand-up which means it's very challenging," said Diane Manders, director of homeowner services for Habitat for Humanity of Long Island. "Our homes are not free. They require hundreds of hours of sweat equity."

The land was donated by East Hampton, said Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc.

"It's so important to keep people in our community," Van Scoyoc said.

Matt Charron said many other veterans in the region are also in need of assistance.

"There's more need than just me but to bring attention to it is important," he said.

Habitat for Humanity of Long Island, which has now built 236 new homes in the region, is an affiliate of the Atlanta-based Habitat for Humanity International. The group works to empower lower-income families to achieve their homeownership dreams through its affordable homeownership program.

With John Roca

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