Samantha Garvey is Finally Home
January 28, 2012
by KEITH HERBERT AND SARAH CRICHTON
Intel competition semifinalist Samantha Garvey has a home again.
Less than a month after she and her family had to relocate to a homeless shelter, Garvey moved Saturday into a new home in Bay Shore.
At a ceremony in front of the new home, Garvey, with her parents, brother, sister and science teacher, stepped across the threshold of the county-owned home, putting the label “homeless” — that had helped propel her into national stardom — firmly into the past.
The Brentwood High School senior, 18, said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity shown the family.
“I was homeless and I didn’t have a house and because of the kindness of all these strangers, I do — I have a house!” she said in front of the 2-story, three-bedroom home.
“I couldn’t have gotten here without education — you make the best of it because it’s the end of so many things,” she told a bevy of media, officials and local business owners who made donations to refurbish and furnish the house.
The family gathered out front for the official handover of keys by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who praised Garvey’s maturity in the wake of a “whirlwind” few weeks since she was named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search — at which time the family’s economic plight and homelessness came to light.
In the days that followed, she crisscrossed the country for a daytime television talk show taping and has been the guest of Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) at the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. Garvey was not among the five LI Intel semifinalists named national finalists on Tuesday.
The house the family is moving into is one of five county-owned properties currently given to low-income families as affordable housing, said chief deputy county executive Regina Calcaterra, who was instrumental in having the home readied for the family and who spent periods of her own childhood homeless and in foster care.
As with all the properties, Samantha’s parents, Leo and Olga Garvey, will pay 30 percent of their total income in rent, minus the cost of utilities, Calcaterra said. Leo Garvey drives a cab and Olga Garvey works as a nurse’s aide, officials said.
The high school senior will not get her own room, however — that privilege falls to Kenneth, her 13-year-old younger brother; Samantha will share a room with her sister and Kenneth’s twin, Erika.