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Movement by state on affordable housing funds

The Community Development Corporation of Long Island awaits a contract from New York State for a $2 million grant it was rewarded to help create accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on Shelter Island.

The town’s Community Housing Board, meanwhile, is exploring changes it may need to request to accommodate factors specific to Shelter Island. That could include changes required for property owners interested in creating accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Only 10 state grants were awarded this year, and must be used within a two-year period. But Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) President  Gwen O’Shea told the Island’s Community Housing Board members on March 9 that she assumes that, if projects are already underway but not completed, the time line could be extended.

Once the contract is received, she said she will be able to respond to that and other specific questions Housing Board members raised.

Ms. O’Shea said grant funds would go to property owners who want to create ADUs on their properties, with money for construction to create a rental unit or adapt existing space to function as an ADU. Funds also can be used to bring properties up to code if necessary.

There are financial limits for property owners to qualify for funding, which is determined by a formula that takes into account the median income for Suffolk County, currently at $126,000, Ms. O’Shea said.

Renters don’t have to qualify financially under the state grant because there are some who would likely have higher income, but would still struggle to afford housing where they work, such as teachers.

The Island’s Housing Board wants to ensure those who qualify have some financial requirements. At the same time, the town would like to be able to give preference to Island teachers and volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

Housing Board members have heard from a few property owners inquiring about grants and what would be involved in creating an ADU. A basic pamphlet, drafted by Housing Board members Maria Maggenti and Bran Dougherty-Johnson, is close to completion.

Ms. O’Shea also noted that Community Development Corporation of Long Island has access to low-cost loans, and there are also grants from the county and town for installation of nitrogen-reducing I/A septic systems.