Biased Reporting - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2072709

Biased Reporting

Your editorial [“Bait and Switch,” January 19] is replete with misinformation regarding Concern Housing’s proposed affordable housing development in Southampton.

When a Southampton official asked us in 2017 to consider the site, I made it clear what Concern does and could do at this location. The official, in turn, emphasized that it was our success at other locations that prompted her call.

We discussed building a 100 percent affordable complex that mixed supportive and affordable homes. (Note, supportive housing is affordable housing with services. In our 50-year history, we have never built housing without a supportive component.) In 2019, The Long Island Business News recognized our Liberty Station as the affordable housing project of the year.

We agreed to model our Southampton development after Liberty Landing (with the exact breakdown of units — 30 supportive, 30 affordable). We immediately began inviting town officials and other community representatives to visit Liberty Landing and other developments operated by Concern. The response was 100 percent support from all who visited.

In late 2018, we submitted our application for 9 percent tax credits to New York State. The application included letters of support from the town officials and detailed the plans for the development, the exact plans that exist today: a mixture of 30 supportive, 30 affordable homes. A copy of this application was submitted to Southampton Town.

In 2019, we attended a Town Board work session where we described the development. At the time there were 30 supportive units, with 15 of them designated for veterans. In a subsequent meeting, we were encouraged by a Town Board member to maximize the veteran units. The charge that we added 15 units at a later date is false.

Regarding the change in plans to the one entrance/exit on County Road 39: We, along with the supervisor, responded to the feedback from neighbors closest to the site. We remind you that the Town Board voted unanimously to approve us submitting the application knowing that County Road 39 would likely be the only entrance.

Finally, the treatment and depiction of our veterans by you and some in the Southampton community is appalling. It’s true that the State Office of Mental Health funds services for the veterans. It’s also true that we don’t label the people who live in our housing or reduce them to a diagnosis. Some are young, some are older. We have provided safe, secure and supportive homes for veterans as young as 20 and for a 95-year-old World War II veteran who lost his housing after Sandy.

The fact that you never fact-checked your numerous inaccuracies indicates deficient reporting and bias against this vital housing that will serve the Southampton community, and still has significant support.

Ralph Fasano

Executive Director

Concern Housing