$5.5 million awarded to Strong Neighborhoods projects statewide

Funding also allocated to clean up and maintain vacant or abandoned homes

WILMINGTON – Nine projects statewide will receive $5.5 million from Delaware’s Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund to address vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties, Governor John Carney announced today, joined by Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi and elected officials and community leaders from across Delaware.

“This funding will directly help families, cities and towns across Delaware become stronger. When we put homes together, they become neighborhoods, safe places enriched by diversity where we collectively share in our cities’ growth and successes,” Governor Carney said. “When families step into houses, they become homes – residences of refuge, centers of companionship, locations of learning, and places of worship. Home is where we celebrate our accomplishments and draw upon strength and support to face our challenges.”

The second round of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund, funded by bank settlement money, will lead to about 100 new or rehabilitated housing units in Wilmington, New Castle County, Dover, Milford and Laurel. The investment of $5.5 million will leverage an estimated $15 million in private or other funding sources.

“These projects will be helping families and individuals who need housing, while strengthening the neighborhoods in which they are located, revitalizing properties that have fallen into disrepair and bringing people back to live in them,” said DSHA Director Ben Addi.

The housing projects chosen for funding in this round, listed by jurisdiction, are:

City of Wilmington, lead applicant Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank, $2.1 million
• Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank, $645,000 to acquire blighted properties and remove them
• Wilmington Housing Partnership, $205,000 for four new units and two rehabbed
• Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, $550,000 for eight new units and three rehabbed units in Wilmington
• Inter-Neighborhood Foundation, $200,000 for four rehabbed units in Wilmington
• Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, $550,000 for 10 new units and one rehabbed unit

New Castle County, $1.3 million
• New Castle County Department of Community Services, $1.3 million for 10 new units and 17 rehabbed ones along the Route 9 corridor

Kent County, $1.5 million
• NCALL Research, $1 million for 20 new units in Dover
• Milford Housing Development Corporation, $500,000 for 10 new units in Milford

Sussex County, $500,000
• Laurel Redevelopment Corporation, $500,000 for 10 new units in Laurel

The Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank led a coordinated planning and application process on behalf of multiple Wilmington projects, for a total of $2.1 million awarded. “These projects will help transform neighborhoods dealing with blight or other forms of stress, including crime, by increasing homeownership,” said Richard Gessner, chair of the Land Bank board. “This is a strong collaboration that will strengthen and support ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life in Wilmington.”

“Wilmington is grateful to the Governor and State Housing Director for their support of our efforts to strengthen City neighborhoods,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “This funding will be deployed strategically and efficiently in targeted areas of the City so as to make maximum its use. We appreciate this support which will help us improve neighborhoods and the lives of our citizens.”

The Milford Housing Development Corporation will use $500,000 to create 10 new units in the City of Milford’s Downtown Development District area. The effort is aligned with the city’s Rivertown Rebirth 2025 plan, said Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe. “Increasing homeownership will help strengthen our community and support our downtown,” Mayor Shupe said. “Neighborhoods succeed because of the people living and working there, and we are pleased to partner in this effort.”

Applicants requested more than $8.2 million, but not all projects could be funded, Director Ben Addi said. “The level of interest remains high, showing the strong involvement and commitment that our partners and others have to supporting neighborhoods in need,” he said. “We hope that these successes will allow us to expand this effort in the future to even more communities in the future.”

Also announced was $475,000 in funding for the Vacant Property Maintenance Fund, which will help local governments clean up vacant and abandoned properties. Wilmington will receive $175,000 and New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County will each receive $100,000.

The first round of funding from the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund was allocated in 2015, with $2.7 million going to build or rehabilitate 68 housing units in Wilmington, Dover and New Castle County. All homes will be sold to families or individuals with incomes at or below 120 percent of the area median income.

Patricia Benton, who recently purchased a home in New Castle County’s Garfield Park neighborhood as part of the the first round of SNHF grants, said she is enjoying her new home. “It’s like having a brand new home but in an established community,” she said. “I could not be happier. I love my new home!”

Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, one of the 2015 recipients, is constructing 11 units of affordable live/work housing for artists in the Quaker Hill Historic Neighborhood, located in Wilmington’s Creative District. The work is being done by repurposing old vacant, abandoned residential properties in which some have been vacant for nearly 30 years.

Interfaith Executive Director Gary Pollio said that for Interfaith to be truly successful, each project must fit into the community and meet its expectations. “Our projects are not just about the housing,” Pollio said. “Our overarching goal is revitalizing the neighborhood, expanding affordable housing opportunities for new residents, and growing community.”

About the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. In addition to its role as the State’s Housing Finance Agency, DSHA is unique in that it also serves as a Public Housing Authority and acts as a Community Development and Planning Agency. As a Public Housing Authority, DSHA receives funding from HUD to build, own, and operate public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, two of Delaware’s three counties. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (888) 363-8808 or visit our website at www.destatehousing.com.

Media Contact:

Dan Shortridge, Director of Public Relations
Delaware State Housing Authority
Office: 302-739-0271
Cell: 302-632-0470

Governor Carney’s Statement on House GOP Plan to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney issued the following statement Tuesday on the U.S. House Republicans’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

“The Republican proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act would dramatically change how the federal government funds Medicaid, reduce access to quality healthcare for many vulnerable Delaware families and cost Delaware taxpayers millions each year. We will work closely with Delaware’s congressional delegation to oppose this change, and any other deep cuts to Delaware’s Medicaid program. No law is perfect, and the Affordable Care Act is no exception. But these changes take us in the wrong direction. Any changes to the Affordable Care Act and our nation’s healthcare system more broadly should drive down the cost of care and make our population healthier. This proposal simply shifts costs to those who can least afford it. It would also make our state’s budget challenges even worse.”

Governor Carney Announces Re-Appointment of Judge Witham to Delaware Superior Court

Nomination must be approved by the Delaware Senate

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Saturday announced his nomination to re-appoint Judge William L. Witham Jr. to the Delaware Superior Court, as Resident Judge for Kent County.

The Delaware Senate must approve Judge Witham’s nomination.

“Judge Witham has served the State of Delaware with distinction,” said Governor Carney. “I am pleased he has agreed to continue his service, and look forward to the Delaware Senate considering his nomination.”

The Honorable William L. Witham Jr. became an Associate Judge of the Delaware Superior Court in February 1999. He was appointed Kent County Resident Judge in January 2005.

Click here for Judge Witham’s full bio.

Governor Carney’s Statement on Artificial Island Project Recommendations

WILMINGTON, Del.Governor John Carney issued the following statement on recommendations Friday from the PJM Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee:

“This project, as currently financed, would place an unjust burden on Delaware residential and industrial ratepayers. Delaware businesses and families would see higher monthly electric bills, and receive next to nothing in return in the way of a direct benefit. I intend to work with members of Delaware’s federal delegation, the Public Service Commission, our Public Advocate, and the General Assembly to oppose the current cost allocation as set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is not a good deal for Delaware.”

Governor Carney Signs Order Creating Uniform Anti-Discrimination Policy

Executive Order will result in a uniform policy by April 1

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed Executive Order Six, establishing a uniform anti-discrimination policy across state government.

Creation of a consistent anti-discrimination policy was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware, the report submitted to Governor Carney by his Transition Team.

The executive order signed by Governor Carney on Wednesday calls for the creation of a new policy by April 1.

“I am committed to building a state government that is representative of all of the people we serve,” said Governor Carney. “It’s important that we root out both explicit and implicit acts of discrimination. This executive order is an important first step that will lead to a consistent process for identifying and eliminating discrimination across all agencies of state government.”

The uniform policy will include statewide anti-discrimination guidelines and complaint procedures to be followed by each Executive Branch Agency.

“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable, and this executive order is a critical first step to making sure that happens,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “We must do everything in our power to uplift and support an environment of equality, tolerance and fairness and prevent discrimination and racism from happening.”

“Today, with the signing of this executive order, our State takes a positive step forward,” said Hanifa Shabazz, President, Wilmington City Council and Chair of the Delaware Black Caucus. “We applaud Governor Carney for his commitment and action toward establishing a work environment where individuals are treated with respect and dignity, free from harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. Today, also sends a strong message to the victims – those that came forward to file complaints and those that chose to remain silent – their voices have been heard and Delaware will be a better place to work because of them.”

“We must work to change the workplace culture in Delaware so it is one that promotes fair and equal opportunities as well as a safe place for those to share their opinion without fear of discrimination. I have hope that Governor Carney’s executive order will move us forward,” said State Representative Stephanie T. Bolden, D-Wilmington East, treasurer of the Delaware Black Caucus.