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What Is The North Fork Housing Alliance?

Originally Posted: July 05, 2011

John A. Viteritti

The Alliance administers the Section 8 Program for the Town of Southold which provides rental subsidies to approximately 250 families. (Courtesy Photo: tampabay.com)

Southampton - I recently had the pleasure of chatting over lunch with Ed Reale, formerly a partner with the law firm, Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo and now a Senior Managing Director with Brown Harris Stevens, responsible for the Southampton, Sag Harbor, and Westhampton offices.

Ed serves on the Board of Directors of The Hamptons & North Fork Realtors Association.

In addition, and the subject of this article, Ed is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the North Fork Housing Alliance, Inc., (NFHA) a private, not for profit housing agency.

I asked Ed about some of the history of the NFHA and when be became involved.

"The organization was formed in 1980 as the Greenport Housing Alliance, Inc. In 1986, when New York State approved the extension of services beyond Greenport to include the entire North Fork area, its name was changed to the North Fork Housing Alliance, Inc. I became involved as a founding member about 28 years ago. I incorporated them and have acted as 'pro bono' counsel ever since."

What made you aware of the Alliance, Ed?

"As a young attorney I represented tenants, and I soon learned that many of my clients who were indigent had special needs that had to be addressed. The Alliance was an organization that was trying to address those needs. Through a partnership with of Federal, State, local and private resources and its own resources, it serves an average of 800 low to moderate income families a year. It leverages nearly $4 million annually in support of its efforts."

What have been some of the sources of that leveraging, I asked.

"The NYS Division of Housing & Community Renewal which includes Federal HOME funds is one. So is The Suffolk County Community Development's HOME Program and the NYS Affordable Housing Corporation for the Southold Town First Time Home Buyers Program."

Could you quantify for me, Ed, some of the achievements of the Alliance?

"The Alliance administers the Section 8 Program for the Town of Southold which provides rental subsidies to approximately 250 families. Under the program qualified tenants are not permitted to pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent and the landlord receives the difference up to the fair market value from HUD who administers the program for the Federal government. It provides the tenant with quality housing that they otherwise could not afford, and is guaranteed income for the landlord.

In 1987 the Alliance built a 16-unit multi-family housing complex called "Lakeside Gardens" in Greenport. The Alliance owns and manages the property. It has also rehabilitated approximately 350 privately owned units in the Town of Southold since 1983, not only improving the housing stock but enhancing the value of properties in the surrounding areas.

Fourteen new homes were built in 1989 for sale to eligible families using local bank financing and NYS Affordable Housing Corporation, and two houses were developed in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity for two very low income families who now own and live in them.

The Alliance organized, in conjunction with the Town of Southold, the initial First Time Homebuyers Program and has since leveraged funding from the NYS Affordable Housing, SONYMA Set-Aside and local banks to promote homeownership and to educate potential new homeowners within the Town.

Since 1992 the Alliance has developed a variety of housing counseling services to assist more than 2,500 families."

That is quite a litany of accomplishments, Ed. How many employees does the Alliance have who provide these services?

"It has five full-time employees and a seven-member elected Board of Directors."

Does the Alliance receive any form of tax abatement from the Town, Ed?

"No. The Alliance pays full-value real property taxes to the Incorporated Village of Greenport as well as to the Town of Southold."

How would you synthesize the Alliance's immediate efforts to provide quality housing at affordable prices to the North Fork Community, Ed?

"I would say it is to procure private funding from local banks to acquire, re-habilitate, rent and maintain housing for those in need."

Thank you Ed and best wishes in your efforts.

Editor's Note: John will be teaching a 22.5 hours Real Estate Continuing Education class at Long Island University in Riverhead on July 18, July 20, and July 22. For information and registration contact Rosemary Malone at 631-287-8334 or by email at rosemary.malone@liu.edu.

John is a St. John's University graduate, licensed Real Estate broker, lecturer, teaches real estate license classes at LIU, NYU, and Cook Maran Real Estate School, and is a well-respected consultant to the real estate industry. www.johnaviteritti.com

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