WOODBURY - More than a dozen families are the winners of the affordable housing lottery in the Town of Islip.
Great anticipation filled Islip Town Hall Monday as officials drew the names of applicants of the town's lottery.
Among the lucky winners are Raldin and Amelise Vega, who say they have been saving to buy a home of their own for more than 10 years.
"Just to have your own yard, your own kitchen... would mean so much," Raldin Vega says. "It's just a dream come true."
The Vegas and the other winners will choose from homes in Central Islip, East Islip and Ronkonkoma. The homes are on formerly foreclosed properties that were purchased by the town's Community Development Agency.
Islip Town Supervisor Angi Carpenter says the goal of the lottery is to give new life to the foreclosed homes.
"It's going to be in a neighborhood that's going to be so much happier to have a family in a house, and not a derelict property or a zombie home in their neighborhood," Carpenter says.
For Freddie Espinoza, who immigrated to the U.S. from Peru 14 years ago, owning a home means a new beginning for him and his family of five. "I was excited, really excited, because we waited for this for so long," he says.
The town's Affordable Housing Program requires applicants to be first-time buyers and to have good credit. They must also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and meet income qualifications.
The housing lottery winners can buy the homes at market rate. They will also receive down-payment subsidies and low mortgage rates.