I did not get the young mother’s name, but her description of not being able to live here anymore despite desperately wishing to stuck with me. Her story is so far from the only one.
We are in a housing crisis on the South Fork. Everybody’s talking about it. Rentals, when you can get one, are expensive. Buying a house on the kind of income most people have here is out of the question. No one seems to have found the right solution.
With a child at the Springs School and a toddler, the young mother and her partner would like to stay. She has a college degree in political science and she and her partner have good jobs, but the money is just not enough. It is beautiful here, and the air is good, the young mother said, but they have no choice other than to move away. Hearing her talk broke my heart; whenever someone like this is forced to go, I feel like a little bit of the good part of East Hampton goes with them.
Another couple I know are in the same boat. Their longtime lease ends this spring, so they have been on the hunt, too. They work locally, in jobs that benefit the community, and they want to start a family. An apartment in Southampton that one of them told me was perfect for them fell through; the landlord there said he preferred to rent to a single person.
It seems just so unjust in a town with millions of square feet of residential space that some can’t be found for those who really need it. There must be a way. I want to be able to give these people hope when they tell me their stories, but for now I have no idea what I might say