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$11 Million Senior Housing Building Project Gets Ceremonial Start

After about 10 years of putting the project in order, construction is underway under 40 apartments and a community center.

Government officials, housing officials, parishioners, clergy and those that were the force behind the St. Michael's Senior Housing project gathered at the Amagansett church for a long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.

"East Hampton is known for many things," said Gerry Mooney, a member of the church and manager of affordable housing apartment complexes in town, who had spurred the project along over 10 years, "but is also a place where a community says, simply, housing a human right, not a privilege."

The St. Michael's Lutheran Church made way for the complex that includes 40 apartments for those 62 years or older with an annual income of $30,000 or less, and a community center by knocking down the old parsonage a few hundred hards from the church in December.

"The church wanted this for the community," said Michael DeSario, the president of the the housing board that secured funding, including a $5.9 million federal grant and an $891,000 federal rent subsidiary. "All told, it's an $11 million project," he said.

Six years after St. Michael's looked to East Hampton's Windmill affordable housing board for assistance, the building has begun. Four out of six foundations have already been installed. Completion is expected within less than a year, as the buildings are modular.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, said he was looking forward to returning for the ribbon cutting upon the project's completion. "East Hampton has had a leadership role in affordable housing," he said referring to Windmill and Whalebone villages, where Mooney is the manager.

"Gerry's really been the heart and soul of the project," DeSario said. He and other speakers, such a Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, spoke of Mooney's tenacity navigating bureaucracies and red tape. 

In fact, the project was close to coming to an end, just this December, when certain grant money was about to expire unless final approvals came through, DeSario said.

Joining in the celebration with St. Michael's pastor the Rev. Dr. Katrina Foster were Lutheran Bishop Robert Rimbo and St. Michael's former pastor the Rev. Yvette Shock. Foster presented Shock with a gift — a piece of the siding from the parsonage, in which Shock was the last pastor to live. It included a photo of the decommissioned house and a quote, "Wisdom has built her home," from Proverbs 9:1.

"We were losing the soul of our community," Schneiderman said of the importance of creating more senior housing. He said he hopes the next affordable housing project "will be for the young folks are struggling to stay here."

amagansett voter February 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Where did the rest of the funding come from? $5.9 million federal grant and an $891,000 federal rent subsidiary and ?? for an $11 million project.
Christine Martin February 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Yes! This is a great thing. I just wonder if there are plans to facilitate the seniors crossing Route 27 in order to safely get access to the IGA, Post Office and other shops across the street. Thanks Michael Disario for your efforts and hard work to make this happen.
Susa Stein February 22, 2012 at 01:32 PM
$275,000 for an affordable apartment - not house. The houses at Green Hollow Woods were less and that's for an entire house. What am I not getting? We could have more apartments for seniors, if the prices per unit were less. S. Stern
Loretta Lynch February 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Congratulations to all those involved. I know many seniors trying to live on an income much lower than $30,000. These people have lived in the township all their lives and find themselves having to leave because of low income. They have given themselves to their community all their lives and deserve to stay. God Bless all involved..
Mo Neill February 22, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Agreed, God bless all invovled congrats to Rev Shock, the Bishop, Jerry Mooney, Cathy Burns, Michael De Sario,et al who have seen this through. what irresponsibility that our town board shirks its responsibility to do what this group has done: provide affordable housing facilitated by Federal & State funds. The other 3 complexes this wonderful group has built & manage provides over 150 housing units for EH residents. The town could also provide such an affordable complex as this not-for-profit has done, but it requires no little effort to submit plans & line up financing that took this wonderful group over three years and many people endless man-hours to see this though. the people who howl the loudest about overcrowding (read Latino) are the very same people who oppose work force housing that would relieve overcrowding. the EH board is so scared of these screamers they have abdicated their responsibility to provide affordable housing to relieve the overcrowding. It is telling that the same screamers had nothing to screech about this coming afford housing complex, because they can't intimidate them as they do our brave town board. this non-profit group stood up to them as they have to other NIMBYs. God bless Marian Zucker! I only wish these people wou.ld run for town board
Mo Neill February 22, 2012 at 04:22 PM
the town board saID they would do this
Mo Neill February 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM
yes, how much do you think you could build 50 units for, or what is current cost per square foot in EH? they are not selling these apartments $275,0000, they are renting them which will pay off mortgages & upkeep, just as their other 3 complexes are doing very successfully. True, they could have built 27,500 units if they built them for $10. each..
Yuri Ando February 22, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Thanks to God and to the committed people at the church and in the community and the pastoral leadership.

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