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Suffolk first-time home buyer aid offered

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone talks with Andrew

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone talks with Andrew and Kelly Tardieu, who recently purchased the home behind them with down payment assistance provided by the county, outside of their new home in Huntington Station. Looking on, second from left, is Suffolk County Legis. William Spencer. (July 16, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

Andrew Tardieu and his wife, Kelly, searched for homes around Huntington last year unsure of what they could afford or how long it would take them to even cover a down payment.

That’s where Suffolk County came in.

Through a federally funded program for first-time home buyers, the county administered a $14,000 award to the young couple to help with their down payment. By January, they had closed on a tidy brick ranch in Huntington Station.

“We would’ve still been saving,” said Andrew Tardieu, 29, who works in retail management. “This gave us the kick-start that we needed.”

The Tardieus welcomed County Executive Steve Bellone to their home yesterday for his announcement that a new round of aid from Suffolk’s Down Payment Assistance Program is now available. The long-standing program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will give a total of $500,000 to recipients — now a maximum of $10,000 apiece — in 2012.

“This is a pivotal step in the process of home ownership,” Bellone said.

Applications will be taken until Sept. 30; awards for qualifying home buyers will be first-come, first-served. Homes must be appraised at less than $362,790 and not already in contract.

Buyers must attend mortgage counseling, meet maximum income levels for household size (example: $68,800 for two), and not rent the property.

Purchases aided by the grant may be made in all areas of the county except the towns of Babylon — which has its own similar program — and Islip.

Peter Elkowitz, who heads the Long Island Housing Partnership, an affordable housing nonprofit, said he recommends Suffolk’s program to hundreds of first-time buyers each year. Andrew and Kelly Tardieu were among them.

“The number one obstacle, for most people, is the down payment,” Elkowitz said. “This gives them some help.”


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