The $11 million St. Michael's Senior Housing project will go from construction project to home for 40 people in the coming days.
The new housing complex in Amagansett passed its final inspection on Wednesday, and Department of Housing and Urban Development issued the last necessary document, Permission to Occupy, on Thursday.
The Rev. Katrina Foster, whose parish gave the land for the senior housing, joked, "We've been so focused on getting it built, we forgot there's people."
Tenants, who won a lottery to receive the apartments, already began signing their leases and handing in their deposits, she said. Some will move in over the weekend, while others will wait until at least Monday. Foster said she will be there on Monday morning to begin to welcome them.
The complex that includes 40 apartments for those 62 years or older with an annual income of $37,000 or less, but under HUD requirements, the housing had to be opened to those who make less than $22,000.
"To me, it's a complete joy to know that 40 families are going to have a home," said Kathy Brynes, a co-manager at Windmill who helped organize the project with Gerry Mooney.
Two of the tenants are homeless, she said. "One man came in today, crying. He had to be out of his place today," she said of another tenant. A majority of are from the East Hampton and Amagansett area, while others are returning to the area after living further west because they couldn't afford to live here.
The average income of those moving into the complex is $14,000, Brynes said. Their rent is based on income subtracted by the amount of medical they paid out of pocket in the past year; 30 percent of the bottom line is what they pay in rent. The housing authority pays for heat and water, and they give an allowance for electric.
Brynes also got a new a home; She and her husband Brian Brynes are living in the superintendent's 2-bedroom apartment with their 7-year-old son. They moved in last weekend. She applied for the position, which is a requirement under HUD. "It's a great fit, she said. "I know this place inside and out."
She's met all of the "well deserving seniors," who found out in October they would get one of the coveted apartments. Some have been waiting for nearly a decade.
Construction began early last year, following the demolition of the old parsonage a few hundred yards from the church in December 2011. But, the approval process and securing funding has taken more than eight years since St. Michael's looked to the Windmill affordable housing board for assistance.
"It started out with a good idea and took years to make it happen. Anytime you can hand somebody a key and call it a home, it's exciting," said Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, who was helped the project come to fruition.
A community center is the last bit of the project that needs to be completed. Foster said she is hoping a local contractor might donate services to have the kitchen installed. She said it's the "last impediment" to make full use of the community center.
Electric was hooked up in late November, delayed by nearly a month when Superstorm Sandy hit in October.
At the groundbreaking ceremony in February 2012, Michael DeSario, the president of the housing board that secured funding said the cost was about $11 million. Funding included a $5.9 million federal grant and an $891,000 federal rent subsidiary.