DSHA Pauses Delaware Housing Assistance Program to Manage Volume, Assess Available Resources

DOVER – Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) is temporarily pausing application submissions for the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP). Pausing the program will allow DSHA to explore how resources from the federal government and others may be used in the coming weeks to continue the program and respond to the ongoing high demand for assistance. It will also allow DSHA staff and community partners to process the more than 5,000 applications that have been received since the program launched on March 26.

“Demand for the DE HAP program has been overwhelming, and while we regret having to make this decision to pause the program, we know it is in the best interest of the applicants that we take this time to assess how federal funds and other resources could be used for the program going forward and to process the thousands of applications we have received thus far,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.

DE HAP provides emergency rental assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Eligible households can receive up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company. Applications are received and processed by DSHA and then sent to participating community partners for eligibility verification and final approval for payment.

In total, DSHA, New Castle County, Sussex County and Kent County have committed up to $2.93 million to DE HAP. With more than 5,000 applications received to-date and 100-200 new applications received daily, DSHA estimates the program could need more than $7 million in order to fund all applicants who have requested assistance.

While the program is paused, DSHA will be monitoring federal resources coming directly to Delaware, including funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and assess how those resources and others could be used to assist tenants in the state who are struggling to pay their rent.

Effective March 25, Governor John Carney issued a Sixth Modification to his State of Emergency Declaration, placing a moratorium on evictions, late fees and utility shutoffs until the State of Emergency is lifted. However, the moratorium does not relieve tenants of their obligation to pay rent, and any tenants who know they will not be able to pay their rent need to be in contact with their landlord as soon as possible to discuss their options. Tenants who are being threatened with eviction by their landlords during the pandemic should contact the Delaware Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 302-577-8600 or consumer.protection@delaware.gov. Tenants can also contact the Delaware Legal Help Link at https://delegalhelplink.org/ for assistance or the Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI) at http://www.declasi.org/.