The House That Beer Built - 27 East

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The House That Beer Built

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The House Beer Built wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The House Beer Built wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

Habitat for Humanity of Long Island CEO Jimmy Jack, center, flanked by House Beer Built wall-raising crew members and, on the far right, construction supervisor Walt Mackey. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

Habitat for Humanity of Long Island CEO Jimmy Jack, center, flanked by House Beer Built wall-raising crew members and, on the far right, construction supervisor Walt Mackey. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

Walt Mackey gives instructions prior to the wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

Walt Mackey gives instructions prior to the wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The wall-raising begins with one of the four corners being secured in place. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The wall-raising begins with one of the four corners being secured in place. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The House Beer Built wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The House Beer Built wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The House Beer Built wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

The House Beer Built wall-raising. BRENDAN J. O'REILLY

Brendan J. O’Reilly on Sep 20, 2023

Habitat for Humanity of Long Island and the Town of Southampton Housing Authority raised the walls of a new affordable home under construction in Riverside on Wednesday, September 13, with the help, both physically and financially, of Long Island breweries and pubs.

Habitat raised $22,000 toward the project on Vail Avenue, dubbed “The House Beer Built,” by selling cards that cardholders can show at 20 locations for a drink at each. Representatives of many of the participating beer makers and purveyors were on hand for the ceremonial wall-raising to lift up the framing and secure it in place.

The fundraiser was such a success that Habitat plans to do it again in 2024.

Habitat sold about 600 cards in 2023 at $50 each, said Caroljean D’Aquila, the external relations manager for Habitat for Humanity of Long Island, which has set a goal to sell 1,000 in 2024 at a reduced price of $30. Though the card will cost 40 percent less, cardholders will be able to redeem them at even more breweries because every participating brewery signed on to partner again in 2024 and even more breweries have expressed interest in joining in, D’Aquila said.

Participating breweries on the East End in 2023 included Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., Peconic County Brewing, Twin Fork Beer, Übergeek Brewing and Westhampton Beach Brewing.

During the wall-raising ceremony, Curtis Highsmith, the housing authority’s executive director, also thanked architect Ryan Kesner for donating his time to design this home and others.

“The town owns multiple lots in Riverside that we’re looking to get adopted,” Highsmith told The Express News Group. “So we’re looking at another phase of construction relatively soon, hopefully beginning of 2024.”

There is a lot across the street from The House Beer Built and two at the end of the street, plus a fourth down the street.

“We’re going to keep raising walls and getting families here who deserve it,” Highsmith said.

The housing authority is working toward qualifying a family to purchase The House Beer Built with an affordable mortgage. At 116 and 86 Vail Avenue, two homes are near completion with income-qualified families at the ready to move in. Highsmith said he expects a ribbon-cutting ceremony next month. In April, Habitat and the housing authority held a ribbon-cutting for two Riverside homes on Old Quogue Road.

“Each home, we learn something different, how to improve upon it,” Highsmith said, explaining that they learn how to make the layout better and complete the process faster.

They have more than just the design and construction to worry about once they obtain a buildable property from the town. The lots are nonconforming, so the housing authority must obtain zoning, setback and pyramid relief from the Zoning Board of Appeals, Highsmith said, and each needs an innovative/alternative septic system and health department approval.

“So it’s going to take a while before we get to a point where we can actually build — a shovel in the ground,” he said.

Financial backing is another challenge. Fundraisers plus in-kind donations of materials and labor help overcome that hurdle.

Highsmith also noted that each house is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant for handicapped or mobility-limited residents.

“The town owns multiple lots in Riverside that we’re still trying to get adoptable,” he said. “So we’re looking at another phase of construction relatively soon, hopefully the beginning of 2024.

He encouraged everyone who applied before and was not selected for an affordable home to apply again once the application period opens next year.

“We don’t hold applications over from process to process or phase to phase,” Highsmith said. “Reapply. Even though you may not have received it in the past doesn’t mean you won’t receive it in the future.”

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