On October 26th, 2012, Super Storm Sandy reared her terrible wrath onto the Village of Freeport. As gale force winds blew through the streets of Freeport, the ocean swelled with high tide. Escaping the water and flooding was impossible. The tidewaters flooded the streets of Buffalo and Albany Avenues and destroyed the Moxey Rigby Low-Income Housing apartment buildings. A few yards away stood the former Freeport Housing Authority office at 3 Buffalo Avenue. The office flooded with approximately 60-inches, or 5 feet, of water and detritus. Electronics, desks, filing cabinets, and paper files were lost.
Since that event almost 10 years ago, the Freeport Housing Authority has made the Community Center at 240 South Main Street its headquarters. Workstations and filing cabinets replaced the couches and television that used to create a gathering place for the tenants. The garage was converted into an office for the Executive Director. It was an inconvenience for the tenants and staff alike. It was mandatory that a new office be built; however, the pressing issue was taking care of the apartments and tenants on Buffalo and Albany Avenues.
Once the New Moxey Rigby Apartment Complex opened in November 2019, and the vacant apartment buildings were disposed of, the plans for a new office began to take shape. A single-story, energy efficient office that is ADA compliant and handicap accessible, complete with individual offices for staff, increasing the ability to have conversations with tenants and applicants; conference room with state-of-the-art technology; a secure file room; and safety and security protocols as required by local and Federal agencies.
“Our tenants dealt with a lot of devastation and loss from Super Storm Sandy. Our number one priority was taking care of them and their homes,” said John Hrvatin, Executive Director. “Now that they are in their brand-new building, it is time to work on the office. The purpose and goal of the Freeport Housing Authority is to provide a stable foundation for low-income families. Our staff needs a stable foundation as well, so we can continue to provide the best service to our community and Freeport. Building this office will give us that foundation.”
This new office building will be located adjacent to Reverend Mitchell Mallette Senior Apartments at 100 North Main Street. The office will sit where the courtyard is currently. Only part of the courtyard will be utilized for the office; the remaining portion will receive a facelift of sorts, with improved seating and tables for the tenants to enjoy time outside.
The FHA was successful in obtaining a grant from FEMA for 90% of the cost of the office building, with the remaining balance being paid by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.) JOBCO, Inc., based in Great Neck, NY was selected as the general contractor.
Construction began in May 2022, and recently hit a major milestone: the foundation was poured! The new office is scheduled to be up and running in early 2023. Keep checking the FHA website for updates and pictures of the progress.