MASTIC - Construction crews began renovating an abandoned home in Mastic Tuesday as part of a pilot program in Suffolk County.

Suffolk received a $1.9 million grant from the state to renovate 11 houses in three townships that have the highest rates of foreclosure.

“Too often we are seeing squatters moving into [the blighted homes],” says Legislator Kate Browning (D – Shirley). “People are pretending they own the home and renting them out. It depreciates the value of every other home on the block when a home looks like this.”

The money for the pilot program is coming from settlements with banks after the 2008 economic crisis. The nonprofit Suffolk County Landbank will use the funds to buy, renovate and resell the properties.

Officials say the 11 homes being renovated will be turned into affordable houses for families. They aim to have the homes completed by the end of 2016.