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Winning a home in an Islip lottery

IslipTown officials pose with winners of its affordable

IslipTown officials pose with winners of its affordable housing lottery. (June 30, 2011) Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Eric J. Pierce’s teenage sons are getting more chores to do -- for a wonderful reason.

Pierce, his wife,  Cynthia, and sons David and Steven will soon be moving from their small Bay Shore apartment into a home of their own that they won Thursday in an affordable housing lottery  at Islip Town Hall. In all, 16 town residents were selected.

Eric Pierce, who works nights cleaning trains for the Long Island Rail Road and his wife,  who works in the disability services industry, entered the lottery when she heard about it and told her husband to make sure he was at Thursday’s drawing.

“The both of us really work hard,” Eric said, later adding, “They [David and Steven] are going to have to learn to cut some grass now because it’s not going to be about an apartment anymore.”

To be eligible for the drawing, applicants must be U.S. citizens or have permanent resident status, be first-time homebuyers and  make at least $47,000 a year. They must also have good credit and “some savings,” according to Paul Fink, executive director of the Town of Islip Community Development Agency, which receives funds for the project through federal grants. Seventeen of the 47 families who applied for the drawing met the requirements.

“There’s a lot of families on Long Island that because of the high cost of housing and other expenses that, even though they have stable employment, it’s very hard to get their down payment together,” Fink said.

Thursday’s lottery consisted of all new homes that were constructed in the place of condemned properties that were torn down. They are considered affordable not only for their initial cost, but also because they are energy efficient and the materials used to construct them require little maintenance. Mortgage payments go back into Community Development Agency coffers to keep the program going.

Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan said the town holds events like this every three to six months.

“These are folks who are working hard to get a home,” he said. “Keep trying. . . stay tuned and be ready for the next one."

Photo: IslipTown officials pose with winners of its affordable housing lottery. (June 30, 2011)

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