Southold passes proposal to help first responders find affordable places to live

Town Supervisor Scott Russell says the proposal hopes to recruit volunteer firefighters and EMTs at local firehouses servicing communities in the town.

News 12 Staff

Jul 19, 2023, 12:22 AM

Updated 334 days ago

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The Town of Southold unanimously passed a proposal Tuesday that they say will help first responders find affordable places to live.
Town officials say names are typically drawn out of the housing registry's list, which includes hundreds of people to be notified about new affordable housing opportunities and housing lotteries. The new measure would give those who qualify a priority placement on the list.
"We can keep young people in town to join the fire department and stay in the fire department," says James Kalin, a 45-year veteran of Greenport Fire Department. "It'll be a plus for everybody."
Town Supervisor Scott Russell says the proposal hopes to recruit volunteer firefighters and EMTs at local firehouses servicing Southold communities.
Russell says the number of volunteers serving in nearby fire departments in Southold is shrinking while the number of people moving into the area has increased since the start of the pandemic.
He says the cost of owning a home has driven many young potential recruits away from the area and hopes the proposal will retain current volunteers.
"The calls are going up substantially, yet the membership is going down so these are men and women who work three, four times harder and they are all volunteers," Russell says.
The proposed measure is open to anyone in EMT or fire services from Suffolk County who served three years, but once they secure affordable housing, they must then serve in one of the Southold communities.
The proposal now has to go to the state to be signed off and could go into effect in a month.
Town officials estimate the first registry could occur in the fall. They say that a spot on the registry does not guarantee housing upon entering a drawing, but it gives priority


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