Habitat for Humanity to build home in North East

MILLERTON — At least one customer for an affordable home is going to be able purchase a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch home this year in the Town of North East.

The price will be based on what the customer can afford at the time of purchase and the expectation is that the sale can be completed by the end of the year.

Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County (HHDC) currently is accepting applications for a homebuying pilot program in the Town of North East with a deadline for completed applications of June 10.

On Thursday, May 9, HHDC held an open house at the NorthEast-Millerton Library Annex to explain the program and field questions.

Another information sessions is planned for June 3 at the Annex from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Information tables will be set up on May 22 at the NorthEast-Millerton Library, 75 Main St., and on June 8 at the Millerton Farmer’s Market on Dutchess Avenue.

Four families were in attendance at the May 9 event, expressing interest in becoming homeowners. One man said he lives in nice home now, but the landlord keeps raising the rent beyond affordability. Another couple, who came with their baby in arms, hopes to become first-time homebuyers.

The home will be built in the Town of North East on a 1 /2 acre lot. It will be a 3 bedroom, two-bath ranch with approximately 1,400 square feet. It will likely be built on a concrete slab or have a crawlspace foundation due to the high water table. It also will have a septic system.

The building site has been confirmed but has yet to be made public, but it definitely will be in the Webutuck Central School District.

Three representatives from HHDC explained how the program works.

Jenn Radicone, HHCD chief of operations, gave an overview of the program and some detail about the home that will be offered.

The minimum income for applicants to the pilot program is $55,000. The maximum income is 80% of the average median income in Dutchess County based on family size.

Radicone, along with Jennifer Buitrago, a housing and financial counselor with HHDC, explained that prospective homeowners will be expected to contribute in a non-monetary way toward the purchase of the home.

A buyer will be expected to participate with up to 200 hours of work and/or educational time toward the purchase of the home.

Radicone noted that in Dutchess County there are 6,000 families in need of affordable housing, paying up to or more than 50% of their income on housing.

Buitrago emphasized the value of learning about homebuying, and discussed a summer homebuying readiness program that would provide support and information needed to be able to purchase a home.

“There’s a general lack of understanding about the homebuying process,” she said.

Arlette Murrain, who manages a program to advance Black homeownership, also discussed how Habitat for Humanity is working to advance Black homeownership in the United States, where white family homeownership stands at 72% compared to 43% among Black families, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

HHDC was established in 1986 and has since built or repaired 300 homes in the county. It also has programs for home repair for veterans, seniors and mobile homes.

The family for HHDC’s first Millerton home will be selected on July 17.

“We hope it will be the first of many,” said Radicone.

To schedule a video chat about the pilot program, visit www.habitatdutchess.org

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