Five families win lottery to buy affordable housing

July 2, 2013 2:56:29 PM PDT
Some families had different way of getting ready for Thursday's Independence Day celebrations on Long Island.

They're peddling the independence of home ownership.

Five winners in a lottery will be able to buy a new home at a fraction of the market value.

It's happening in the Nassau County Town of Hempstead.

Nothing could beat this day for single mom Yolanda Ratcliff and the four other families who had a 50-50 chance in the final drawing.

Nerves were tense.

Not everyone Eyewitness News talked to was so lucky, but for those who were the prize is a brand new 3-bedroom home in Inwood. They are worth $300,000.

Instead, these folks will get it, for $172,000.

It's no small prize for Sharif Fordham and his wife Michelle who, along with their five kids, lost a home they were renting in the same neighborhood after Superstorm Sandy.

"It was like, here's our shot. I'm shaking, like excited, it's like a dream come true right now," said Michelle Bostick, an affordable home winner.

It's a dream made possible, only after rigorous screening, and federal and state funding.

It's successful program in the Town of Hempstead which is also cleaning up blighted neighborhoods.

"And the great thing is, over the 20 years the Town of Hempstead has had an affordable housing program, we've never had one foreclosure," said Kate Murray, Hempstead Town Supervisor.

Now a vacant lot on Walcott Avenue in Inwood will become the Fordham family's new home pretty soon, and the other families will be down the block, and around the corner.

Call it their slice of the American dream, this week of July 4th, it was one they never thought possible until now.

"So at age 57, your very first home," Eyewitness News said.

"My American dream, never too late," said Patricia Smith, an affordable home winner.

For more information please visit:

Or call: Hempstead's Dept of Planning and Economic Development at 516-538-7100