Vote Yes for Housing - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2049558

Vote Yes for Housing

Everyone is talking about housing, or, rather, the lack of affordable housing. It’s not new, but it has reached crisis proportions.

So many longtime residents and workers can no longer afford to live here: our teachers, firefighters/EMTs, health care workers and more. Many travel two hours each way in the summer to provide us with essential services. Schools and health care facilities are scrambling to keep required staffing levels. Fire departments are in need of volunteers.

We depend on all of these workers for our own health and that of our community. How can we make a positive impact on this crisis?

We have a chance to do so, and to take an important step forward to improve our towns’ model for affordable housing.

I urge everyone to flip the ballot and vote yes on Proposition 3, the Community Housing Fund referendum. It’s on the ballot in East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island and Southold towns.

The Community Housing Fund will allow towns to collect a 0.5 percent fee on real estate sales (paid by the buyer) without raising taxes for local residents. First-time buyers will be exempt, and the first $400,000 of the sales price is exempt, too. The funds will be used to support housing for local first responders, health care workers, teachers, and those who live and work in our community.

A town advisory committee, made up of local residents, will be formed to recommend the most effective ways to use the funds to benefit our local residents. Low-cost loans, shared equity purchases, home rehabilitation, and rentals for essential workers are just a few of the ways that each town will be able to design its plan to use the funds. It’s an important step toward easing our housing crisis.

So, on November 8, or before if you’re an early voter, please flip the ballot and join me in voting yes for community housing.

Kathryn Szoka

Vote YES Community Housing Committee