The Town of Babylon announced a new program Thursday aimed at helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans purchase homes in the town.
The town will offer a $10,000 deferred, noninterest-bearing loan toward a home’s down payment and/or closing costs to those who have served honorably in those conflicts since Oct. 7, 2001. The loan will be forgiven at the end of five years if the house is not sold or transferred during that time.
The initiative will be administered by the Long Island Housing Partnership and funded by the town’s affordable housing fund, into which developers pay if they do not make a portion of their housing affordable. Fifteen loans will be given during the first round of the program, the town said.
Applicants must live or work in the town and not own any other real property at the time of closing. They also must provide $3,000, and their household income must not exceed 120 percent of the median household income for the area as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For a one-person household, that would be $87,000.
Supervisor Steve Bellone said the town started the program because it was “the right thing to do,” but the town also has selfish reasons: “If you want to build a strong community, if you want to strengthen your town, get veterans to buy homes in your community.”
Councilwoman Jackie Gordon, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and served in Iraq, said the program would help families who had already made a tremendous sacrifice. “Many soldiers, when they go over, lose wages, especially the lower-ranking soldiers,” she said.
Chris Delaney, who heads up Long Island 9-1-1 Veterans, a group that helps veterans with short-term emergencies, said the program could help those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological issues. “Some of these guys coming back can’t hold down a job because of some of the effects of what they went through,” he said. “This could help somebody get into a home and get through a difficult time.”
For more information, contact the Long Island Housing Partnership at 631-435-4710.
Photo: Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone.