Michelle Diming was moved to tears on Thursday morning when she and her 6-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, cut the ribbon on their new home on Oak Avenue in Flanders.“This is a dream come true,” she said. The 31-year-old moved into the three-bedroom home last week with her husband, Shawn, and their daughter, Gabrielle, after being chosen for the Southampton Workforce Housing Program Lottery in 2012.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Ms. Diming, who is due to have her second daughter in about two weeks, said to the crowd of friends and town officials.
Ms. Diming works as a bus driver for the Riverhead School District, and she said that because Oak Avenue is on her normal route, she was able to watch the construction unfold.
The Southampton Town Housing Authority, in partnership with Southampton Town and the Long Island Housing Partnership, awarded the home to the Diming family, who have lived in the hamlet for a long time.
Ms. Diming grew up in Flanders and said she was thrilled to be able to own a home there. She thanked the primary builder, John Cangemi, of Mazi Homes in Rocky Point, for working so hard on the project and developing a friendship with her family along the way.
Members of the community and officials from the town gathered on Thursday morning to officially cut the ribbon. Mr. Diming, who works in home security systems, could not attend the ceremony due to a work conflict.
“This is the best part of the job,” Bonnie Michelle Cannon, chairperson of the Town Housing Authority, said. “It’s been an uphill journey, but when we see this come to fruition, I have to thank God. Your home is blessed.
“This is what the housing board is about,” she continued. “We are creating attainable, affordable homes for our community.”
Ms. Diming’s home is one of 11 built through the workforce lottery program. There are seven homes in Flanders, two in East Quogue and one each in Noyac and North Sea— all funded with $40,000 grants courtesy of the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Program. All are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
Each home is being built on land previously owned by Suffolk County and donated to the town for the construction of affordable homes. The county took over the properties after their prior owners failed to pay their property taxes.
In order to enter the lottery, potential buyers had to qualify for a mortgage, be first-time homeowners and earn less than $77,400 a year for a family of three or $86,000 for a family of four. Monthly mortgage payments for the homes, including property taxes, come to about $1,300, according to town officials. Mortgage applications were aided by the Long Island Housing Partnership as well.
Fifty-five names were entered in the drawing, which was held in September 2012. Southampton Town residents, and the employees of local businesses, were given priority in the lottery.
“As we move forward, we will continue this practice for people to own their homes and raise their children in this town,” Town Councilman Brad Bender said. “To our new homeowner, welcome home.”