After living in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in Lawrence for the past three years with her husband, Robert, and four of their five children, Kimberly McHale says she is elated to return to her hometown of Inwood and own her first home, on Monroe Street, thanks to the Town of Hempstead’s Affordable Homes program.
“I’m grateful to stay in the community I grew up in, and this is an unbelievable opportunity to buy a home at this price,” McHale said. “I love Inwood. I’m comfortable here, it’s a very diverse community and everybody knows everybody.”
The McHales were one of five families that were given the opportunity to own their first home by way of a lottery held at Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence in early June. Four other homes will be built in Inwood, three on Walcott Avenue and one on Jeanette Avenue. More than 200 homes have been built since the Affordable Homes program’s inception 20 years ago.
On Monday, Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad and Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin presented the McHale family with plans for their home, which will be built by Port Washington-based Anray Custom Builders, between December and March, according to Murray.
“This beautiful community was one of the hardest-hit areas in Superstorm Sandy,” Murray said. “As neighbors are working to recover, we’re here to plant the seeds of rebirth in this residential hamlet by breaking ground on one of Hempstead Town’s stunning new affordable homes.”
Those who take part in the housing lottery must earn $66,320 or less for a family of four — 80 percent of the area’s median income of $82,900 — have no property ownership interests in the past three years and be able to obtain a mortgage. Applicants must also submit information about their finances, family and employment, including three years of tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements, in order to qualify.
The McHales’ 1,715-square-foot Monroe Street home, which purchased for $172,000, has three bedrooms, 1½ bathrooms and a one-car garage. The oldest of the McHale children, Robert Jr., 16, a junior at Lawrence High School, said he was happy his family had been given the opportunity to own a home. “It’s not very often that you get something like this, and I’m thankful that my parents did this and put in the work,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having a backyard and living in this nice community.”
For the past 18 years, Kimberly McHale has worked as a teacher’s aide in the Lawrence School District, most recently at the Number Five School in Cedarhurst. “There’s a comfort level that I already have, and I don’t have to change anything,” she said of the move. “It would have been tough to take my kids out of their schools.”
Her brother, James Gracey, an Inwood resident, said he was grateful his sister was staying in their hometown. “She’s been trying for a long time to buy a house, and I’m very excited for her,” he said. “It means a lot for her to stay here, because a couple of years back she was going to resort to moving to North Carolina, and we’re very close, so it’s great to have her stay local.”
Kaine McHale, 10, a fifth-grader at Lawrence Middle School and an Inwood Buccaneer football player, said he was thrilled to move into a new home. “I’m used to this neighborhood, and I have a friend who lives on this block,” he said. “I’m so happy about all the space we’ll have. I’m just so excited.”
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