DSHA Announces $2.8 Million Awarded to Strong Neighborhoods Projects Statewide

DOVER – Six projects statewide will receive $2.8 million from Delaware’s Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund to address vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties, Governor John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi announced today.

The Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund is used to support community development, address crime and transform neighborhoods that are experiencing blight or other forms of stress. Through the program, abandoned properties are removed, renovated or replaced and sold to low-income residents who then become homeowners.

This is the fourth round of funding since the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund was launched in 2015. The investment of $2.8 million will leverage more than $11.5 million in private or other funding sources and lead to at least 53 new or rehabilitated housing units in Wilmington, New Castle County, Claymont, Dover and Laurel.

“Many of the communities in our state continue to feel the ripple effects of the foreclosure crisis a decade ago, and these effects have only been compounded by COVID-19,” said Governor Carney. “The Strong Neighborhoods program provides organizations working on the ground in these communities with resources needed to purchase abandoned properties, renovate or remove them and build beautiful homes in their place. The funding we’re announcing today will directly assist Delaware families by strengthening their communities and providing increased access to affordable homeownership.”

“By increasing homeownership rates in these neighborhoods, we not only change the lives of the families who purchase the homes, but we also help reduce crime, increase home values and strengthen communities,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “DSHA is proud to support these organizations who are working tirelessly, even throughout the pandemic, to inspire change in some of the state’s most underserved areas.”

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

Wilmington

  • Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank (WNCLB) working in cooperation with the City of Wilmington Real Estate & Housing Department, $400,000 for the acquisition and land banking of one commercial nuisance property and rehabilitation of seven units. The target area is concentrated around a one-to-two block radius surrounding 7th and Jefferson Streets in the West Center City area of Wilmington.

New Castle County

  • Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Inc., $250,000 to continue revitalization efforts along the Route 9 corridor. Funds will be used to purchase and renovate five blighted and vacant homes in the communities of Holloway Terrace, Garfield Park, Rosehill, Simonds Gardens and Collins Park.
  • New Castle County Department of Community Services, $450,000, to redevelop nine blighted and vacant homes in the distressed community of Edgemoor Gardens. Funding will complement and continue revitalization efforts in this area. New Castle County will also offer owner-occupied home repair and first-time homebuyer down payment and closing cost assistance with Community Development Block Grant funding.

Claymont

  • 2 Fish Home Renovations, $300,000 to acquire and renovate six vacant and/or blighted homes in the Overlook Colony and Clearfield Village communities. 2 Fish Home Renovations will also receive $50,000 for community support to hire a part-time employee to provide community engagement activities throughout the duration of the project. This project is a partnership between 2 Fish and Claymont Renaissance Development Corporation.

Dover

  • NCALL, $750,000 to acquire 12 vacant or abandoned properties and complete three demolitions of blighted structures (for a total of 15 units) within the Restoring Central Dover Plan area. NCALL will also receive $50,000 to provide community support and engagement in the targeted area. This project is located within Dover’s Downtown Development District.

Laurel

  • Sussex County Habitat for Humanity (SCHFH), $450,000 to identify and acquire nine properties in the blighted neighborhood known as Old Town and in nearby West Laurel. Three units will be located in Old Town and seven units will be located in West Laurel. Old Town is located within Laurel’s Downtown Development District and is within Laurel’s historic district. SCHFH will also receive $50,000 to provide community support and engagement in the West Laurel area. This project is a partnership between SCHFH, Milford Housing Development Corporation, Laurel Redevelopment Corporation and the Town of Laurel.

2 Fish Home Renovations will use Strong Neighborhoods funding to continue the organization’s efforts to improve the historic Overlook Colony and Clearfield Village area of Claymont. 2 Fish will also provide employment and job development opportunities for formerly incarcerated adults in New Castle County by hiring them to complete the home rehabilitation activities.

“This funding will help our organization further its core mission of providing job opportunities for returning citizens while also contributing to the revitalization of Claymont,” said Keith Smith, president and founder of the organization. “For years, the Overlook Colony area has struggled with upkeep of rental properties, absentee landlords and preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties. With this funding, 2 Fish can renovate some of these blighted properties and provide affordable homeownership opportunities to help transform this community.”

In Dover, NCALL and Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity will use Strong Neighborhoods funding to continue efforts to address dilapidated properties within neighborhoods around North New Street, North and South Kirkwood Streets and South Queen Street. The target area is made up of 75 blocks within the downtown Dover area with a homeownership rate of just 30 percent.

“NCALL and Habitat have been successful in the last few years in addressing blighted properties throughout Central Dover with 40 homes already constructed where dilapidated buildings once stood,” said Karen Speakman, executive director of NCALL. “With this additional Strong Neighborhoods funding, we can continue to build on these efforts and give residents of these communities the opportunity to become homeowners.”

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity will use their $500,000 award to begin the second phase of their Laurel Strong project, transforming blighted neighborhoods and providing new homeownership opportunities in the hardest-hit areas of the town.

“Laurel has a great vision for redevelopment, and we are pleased to be part of it,” said Kevin Gilmore, executive director of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. “This Strong Neighborhoods funding will allow us to completely transform this area by increasing homeownership rates, improving the current housing stock and reducing crime.”

Since the launch of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund in 2015, $13.7 million has been awarded to organizations throughout the state, leveraging an estimated $43.2 million in private and other investment. The program was initially funded using one-time bank settlement dollars and is now funded with a $3 million allocation in the FY 2021 state bond bill. Including the awards announced today, the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund has provided resources to remove, renovate, or replace more than 284 blighted properties throughout the state.


Statewide Family Reentry Pilot Program Launched

DOVER – Delaware’s five public housing authorities (PHAs), the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) and the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ) today launched the Delaware Family Reentry Pilot (FRP) Program, a statewide initiative to give individuals recently released from incarceration the opportunity to access safe and stable housing by reuniting with their families who live in public housing. It represents the latest statewide initiative to advance Governor John Carney’s effort to support reentry success and reduce Delaware’s recidivism rate through Executive Order 27.

“Giving individuals who are returning to their community the opportunity to live with family members can provide the strong support they need in the right environment to chart a new positive path,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis. “Delaware’s Family Reentry Pilot Program applies best practices from New York and other places which have demonstrated that programs like this can work effectively while supporting community safety.”

The Family Reentry Pilot represents a year-long collaboration between DOC, DCJ, and Delaware’s five PHAs – which include the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), Dover Housing Authority, Wilmington Housing Authority, New Castle County Housing Authority, and Newark Housing Authority – to consider and implement a recommendation by the Vera Institute of Justice. The Institute worked with Delaware’s PHAs in 2018 and 2019 to identify opportunities to increase access to public housing for people with conviction histories. Delaware’s five PHAs applied together for its assistance through a competitive nationwide process and were one of only four groups selected by the Institute and the only statewide group to be selected.

“This program would not have been possible without the support of the Vera Institute, and we are grateful for the assistance they provided,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “Finding safe, affordable housing can be a challenge for individuals involved in the criminal justice system, and we know many of them are struggling even more during the COVID-19 crisis. This program is a collaborative effort to help those individuals succeed in their communities.”

Individuals who are eligible for the FRP program must:

  • have been released from incarceration within the past three years or have been living in the community for up to three years after being convicted of an offense which would ordinarily prohibit them from residing in public housing;
  • be currently under DOC community supervision;
  • have a close family member who currently lives in public housing through one of the five Delaware PHAs. Close family members include a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, spouse or domestic partner.

“Wilmington Housing Authority is honored to be part of this initiative with the other public housing authorities, DOC and DCJ,” said Executive Director John Hill. “Without safe housing and the support of close family, we know many of the individuals in our city who are returning to the community after incarceration are more likely to reoffend and recidivate. The Family Reentry Pilot program gives those individuals an opportunity to live with family members who will support them and provide the safe shelter they need to be productive returning citizens.”

“This is an excellent example of how state, county, and local organizations can collaborate on an important issue. New Castle County, including our New Castle County Police Department, has supported this initiative from the start, and we are proud to see it coming to fruition,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “This program will provide residents in our county with safe housing in a supportive environment – something that is as crucial as ever with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We want all of our residents to succeed and this is a step in the right direction to give those who have been involved in the criminal justice system an opportunity to thrive.”

The application and review process consists of three steps:

  • DOC staff, including Correctional Counselors, Probation Officers and In-reach Coordinators, identify eligible applicants and assist them with completing a program application.
  • Applications are submitted to the DCJ for referral to the appropriate PHA.
  • The PHA carefully reviews each application, conducts a standard assessment of the applicant’s conviction history, and interviews the family residing in PHA-assisted housing to assess the family’s readiness to welcome the FRP applicant into their household.

Approved participants will be permitted to live as temporary guests in the designated household for a period of one or two years, depending on their conviction history. Participants who successfully complete the temporary period while remaining in compliance with program guidelines may be officially added to the household’s PHA lease.

All FRP program participants and their host family members will be required to sign a contract binding them to strict guidelines at all times. If a guideline is violated, or if the participant commits a new offense during their participation in the program, he or she will be expelled from the FRP and be required to vacate the residence.

DCJ will oversee FRP referrals and make services available to qualified FRP participants to support their reentry success. These services will help minimize barriers by connecting participants to resources in order to address their immediate needs, foster self-sufficiency, and meet their goals. Qualifying participants who are actively under community supervision may engage in comprehensive intensive case management to assist with transportation, educational goals, securing permanent housing, obtaining employment, accessing basic needs (food, clothing, identification, etc.), building job readiness skills, accessing behavioral health services, and other services as needed.

“DCJ is excited to be a part of the Family Reentry Pilot Program with the housing authorities and our long-term partner, DOC,” said Executive Director David Bever. “We understand that family support and stable housing is a crucial component of successful reentry that promotes stability and increased connections to supportive networks to aid in assisting individuals from re-offending. Individuals being released from prison deserve to have the support they need to become empowered and reach their goals. We look forward to this collaboration as this program is assisting in breaking down barriers and allowing individuals to be reunited with their family members and recreate those bonds needed for prosocial, healthy relationships.”

Initially, the pilot is being offered in properties that are owned and operated by public housing authorities. Early next year, the pilot will expand to Housing Choice Voucher holders. PHAs will begin outreach to landlords who accept Housing Choice Vouchers in the coming months and participation in the FRP program will be voluntary for Housing Choicer Voucher landlords.


$1 Million Awarded to Housing Development Fund Projects Statewide

CLAYMONT – Seven affordable housing projects statewide will receive a total of $1 million from Delaware’s Housing Development Fund (HDF), Governor John Carney announced today joined by Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, elected officials and community leaders from across Delaware.

The HDF, Delaware’s housing trust fund, was created for the purpose of providing affordable, decent, safe and sanitary housing to very low-, low-, and moderate-income households. Nonprofit developers or sponsoring agencies can apply for grants from the HDF to build new affordable housing, rehabilitate existing owner-occupied housing or for adaptive reuse of nonresidential buildings.

Six organizations will receive HDF funding in this round to create or rehabilitate a total of 24 homes around the state. Once the homes are complete, the organizations will then sell them to low- to moderate-income Delawareans.

“The organizations receiving HDF funding in this round are to be commended for their efforts to give more Delaware families a safe, affordable place to call home,” said Governor Carney. “With the HDF, the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund and the Downtown Development Districts programs, we are working hard to transform Delaware’s communities and increase access to affordable housing and homeownership.”

“DSHA relies on our partners to help us provide more Delawareans with safe, affordable housing, and we are grateful for the dedication these organizations have shown to this mission,” said DSHA Director Ben Addi. “With this funding, at least two dozen Delaware families will have the opportunity to become homeowners in communities throughout our state.”

Today’s announcement event took place at a property being renovated by 2 Fish Home Renovations, an HDF award recipient organization that provides employment and job development opportunities for formerly incarcerated adults in New Castle County.

2 Fish partners with the Delaware Department of Correction and Delaware Technical Community College to provide a five-week construction training course while the prospective employees are still incarcerated. Once they are released from prison, they are prepared to start work with 2 Fish. To date, 2 Fish has hired 20 formerly incarcerated individuals, including Jarrell Hawkins, who spoke at today’s event about working for the company.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities 2 Fish has provided me,” said Hawkins. “The training and work experience I have received from this organization will help me as I search for future job opportunities and advance my career.”

2 Fish plans to use HDF funding to acquire and rehab four homes in the Overlook Colony neighborhood of Claymont and sell them to low- and moderate-income buyers.

“2 Fish Home Renovations is honored to be receiving this funding from DSHA,” said Keith Smith, president and founder of the organization. “While our core mission is to provide job development opportunities in New Castle County for formerly incarcerated individuals, this funding will also help our organization have a hand in revitalizing the town of Claymont by offering families in the area the chance to own their own home at an affordable price.”

The affordable housing projects receiving HDF funding in this round, listed by jurisdiction, are:

Claymont

2 Fish Home Renovations will receive $200,000 in HDF funding to acquire and rehab four homes in the Overlook Colony neighborhood in Claymont. The homes are located in a DSHA-designated Homeownership Opportunity Area. The new homes will have three bedrooms and one bathroom and have approximately 1,150 square feet of living space. Once the homes are completed, the organization will target two homebuyers with incomes between 51% and 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and two homebuyers with incomes between 61% and 80% AMI.

Dover

Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) will receive $200,000 to construct four new homes in the Harmony Hill subdivision of Dover. Harmony Hill is a rural community located in a DSHA-designated Homeownership Opportunity Area. MHDC has completed roughly 25 homes in the vicinity of this neighborhood with many located in Harmony Hill. The new homes will have a minimum of three bedrooms and two bathrooms and have approximately 1,200 square feet of living space. MHDC is targeting two homebuyers between 61% and 80% AMI and two homebuyers between 51% and 60% AMI.

Ellendale

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity (SCHFH) will receive $140,000 to construct four new homes in and around the Ingram Village development in Ellendale. SCHFH owns all four properties – two are located in Ingram Village and two are located just outside the entrance to the development. This will be the fifth phase of this development for SCHFH. The new one-story ranch style homes will be approximately 1,250 square feet and include three to four bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms depending on household size. SCHFH is targeting two homebuyers with income at or below 50% AMI and two homebuyers with income between 51% and 60% AMI.

Milford

Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity (CDHFH) will receive $100,000 to construct two new homes in Milford. The proposed properties are unknown at this time, but CDHFH plans to target homes in Milford’s Downtown Development District area. The homes will include three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms with 1,440 to 1,482 square feet of living space. CDHFH will target homebuyers with income between 51% and 60% AMI and will provide a 30-year mortgage at a 0% interest rate to all homebuyers.

Milton

SCHFH will receive $105,000 to construct three new single-family homes in the Town of Milton. SCHFH owns all three properties, and they are located at 210 Bay Avenue, 417 Pine Street, and 416 Cedar Street. The completion of this project will provide necessary affordable homeownership opportunities in Eastern Sussex County where there is currently a lack of affordable housing. The new one-story ranch style homes will be approximately 1,250 square feet and include three to four bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms depending on household size. After completion, each home will be sold to one of SCHFH’s partner families. SCHFH will target one homebuyer with income at or below 50% AMI and two homebuyers with income between 51% and 60% AMI.

Seaford

Diamond State Community Land Trust (DSCLT) will receive $120,000 for the construction of four new homes in the Governors Grant community located in Seaford. The targeted properties are located at 208, 210, 212, and 214 William Ross Lane. DSCLT currently owns all four properties. The homes will have three bedrooms and two bathrooms and will include mobility features such as zero-step entries and livable interiors to meet the needs of underserved populations such as persons living with disabilities. DSCLT will sell the homes for approximately $140,000, enabling them to reach households below 50% AMI. At least two of the four homes will be sold to households with members with disabilities.

Wilmington

Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) will receive $135,000 for the renovation of three townhouses in the City of Wilmington. Two of the three properties are located in one or more of DSHA’s designated Homeownership Priority Areas. HFHNCC owns all three properties, and they are located at 718 Bennett Street, 3004 N. West Street, and 35 E. 22nd Street. This project continues HFHNCC’s longstanding commitment to the Eastside of Wilmington. Two of the townhomes will have four bedrooms and one will have three bedrooms. HFHNCC plans to target two homebuyers with household incomes at or below 50% AMI and one homebuyer with a household income between 51% and 60% AMI. All three homes will be sold to first-time homebuyers.


DSHA and FHLBank Pittsburgh Announce Home4Good Funding Awards

DOVER – Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank Pittsburgh) announced today $1.2 million in Home4Good funding awarded to programs across the state working to reduce homelessness. DSHA provided $500,000 toward the effort, and FHLBank Pittsburgh provided $700,000.

The funding will be used to address four key areas: homelessness prevention, homelessness diversion, rapid re-housing and innovation. Sixteen programs from 11 organizations in the state will receive funding.

“FHLBank Pittsburgh’s ongoing partnership with DSHA continues to make a meaningful difference in the well-being of the neighborhoods we serve and the lives of our neighbors who live there,” said Winthrop Watson, FHLBank Pittsburgh’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Thanks to the support of our member institutions, more than $7 million in Home4Good grants will be directed to local service organizations throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.”

Home4Good was created in 2018 by FHLBank Pittsburgh and is being administered by DSHA. The funding announced today is being distributed as grants to organizations that help individuals retain or find housing, provide supportive services to those facing homelessness or address other unmet needs within the existing homeless provider network. This is the second year of funding in the Home4Good program.

“DSHA is once again pleased to be a part of the Home4Good initiative supporting organizations who are working to reduce homelessness in Delaware,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “This funding will allow the organizations to provide financial assistance and other services to help Delawareans facing homelessness remain in their homes or find stable housing for those who are currently homeless.”

West End Neighborhood House received two Home4Good grants this year. The first award for homelessness prevention totals $75,000 and will be used to support the organization’s Statewide Security Deposit Loan Program. The second award of $60,000 will be used beginning January 1, 2020 to provide support for ex-offenders returning to society who are facing difficulty finding safe, affordable housing.

“For over 100 years, West End has helped Delawareans meet their housing needs,” said Executive Director Paul F. Calistro, Jr. “With this funding, we are pleased to pilot a program that will assist individuals who are re-entering our community from the criminal justice system. Through the pilot program, we will help approximately 40 individuals secure short-term housing in an effort to reduce recidivism and increase their ability to gain and maintain employment as they become self-sufficient.”

Family Promise of Northern New Castle County will use a $100,000 Home4Good grant from this round of funding to assist in the organization’s rapid re-housing efforts, and a second award of $50,000 for its homelessness diversion work.

“Family Promise is so appreciative of the Home4Good funding assistance,” said Executive Director Cheryl Christiansen. “This funding is instrumental to providing financial assistance for families, allowing them to quickly get into stable housing and minimizing the trauma that goes along with the experience of homelessness.”

YWCA Delaware also received two Home4Good grants in this latest round of funding. The first award of $100,000 will be used for rapid re-housing efforts in New Castle County, and the second award of $50,000 will assist the nonprofit organization in its homelessness diversion efforts in New Castle County and Kent County.

“Home4Good funding gives us more tools to prevent homelessness and to re-house families who do not need the intensity of support services provided through the shelter system,” said Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Staats. “YWCA Delaware appreciates its partnership with Home4Good and the ability it gives us to address the individual needs of families to ensure they are housed safely, quickly and with dignity.”

Information about Home4Good is available at www.fhlb-pgh.com and at www.destatehousing.com. Organizations interested in future participation in the program can contact Kate Swanson at katherine.swanson@fhlb-pgh.com or Jessica Eisenbrey at jessica@destatehousing.com for details.

The Home4Good funding recipients are:

Focus Area Organization Target Area Funding Amount
Rapid Re-Housing      
  Catholic Charities Kent County, Sussex County $75,000
  Family Promise of Northern New Castle County New Castle County $100,000
  Ministry of Caring, Inc. New Castle County $100,000
  YWCA of Delaware New Castle County $100,000
Homelessness Diversion      
  Family Promise of Northern New Castle County New Castle County $50,000
  Ministry of Caring, Inc. New Castle County $50,000
  YWCA of Delaware New Castle County, Kent County $50,000
Homelessness Prevention      
  Catholic Charities Statewide $75,000
  Lutheran Community Services New Castle County $75,000
  Rehoboth Community Resource Center Kent County, Sussex County $75,000
  Salvation Army New Castle County $50,000
  West End Neighborhood House Statewide $75,000
Innovation      
  Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. Statewide $200,000
  New Castle County Department of Community Services New Castle County $30,000
  Sussex Community Crisis Housing Services Sussex County $35,000
  West End Neighborhood House Statewide $60,000

 


DSHA Celebrates Liberty Court Renovations and 20 Years of Moving to Work

DOVER – Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) held an event today marking the completion of renovations at Liberty Court, a public housing site in Dover, and recognizing the authority’s 20th year participating in Moving to Work (MTW), a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. Many of the residents at Liberty Court participate in the MTW program.

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi was joined at the event by Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, State Senator Trey Paradee, Liberty Court residents and Moving to Work participants.

“The achievements we are celebrating today are just two examples of the hard work our staff and partners do each day to provide Delawareans with stable, affordable housing,” Director Ben Addi said. “We are proud of our accomplishments and will continue finding ways to improve our public housing sites and help more of our residents become economically self-sufficient.”

U.S. Senator Tom Carper added, “I commend DSHA for its efforts to revitalize the Liberty Court housing site and for achieving this great milestone of 20 years with the Moving to Work program. DSHA should be proud of all the work they have done to give its Liberty Court residents a new place to call home and for the two decades they have spent guiding hundreds of Delawareans to financial stability.”

“The work DSHA is doing to provide quality affordable housing for residents of our state is crucial, and I am honored to celebrate these two important achievements with Director Ben Addi, his staff and partners,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “I know DSHA will continue to make great strides both in providing its residents with beautiful places to live and in helping more Delawareans achieve economic self-sufficiency through the Moving to Work program.”

The Liberty Court property was built in 1974 as a privately-owned and market-rate apartment complex and was purchased by DSHA in 1989. From 1990 to 1993, DSHA substantially rehabilitated the property and created 108 public housing subsidized units.
In 2015, an internal inspection on one of the buildings at Liberty Court found areas of moisture within stucco on the exterior of the building was causing the interior walls and framing of the building to swell. When other buildings at the property were inspected, similar issues were found. At the time, it was determined that a major rehabilitation of the property was needed to correct the problem.

Construction at Liberty Court began in July of 2017 and was finalized in November 2018 with all 100 units leased. Renovations included: demolition of all residential buildings and construction of new buildings on existing foundations; installation of Energy Star compliant high-efficiency appliances in all units; an open concept design in the living rooms and kitchens; installation of hickory kitchen cabinets, black appliances, ceiling fans, vinyl plank flooring and sprinkler systems in all units; repaving and striping of parking lots; and installation of a new security camera system, sidewalks and dumpster enclosures on the property grounds. The renovation project did require DSHA to lower the number of units at Liberty Court from 108 to 100 in order to provide a new fire lane at the complex in compliance with fire marshal requirements.

DSHA decided to pursue the support of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program to finance the renovation project. RAD allows for more funding flexibility including the use of tax credits and other public funds to maintain and improve public housing.

The cost of renovations at Liberty Court totaled nearly $18 million with financing provided through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and DSHA’s Affordable Rental Housing and HOME programs. WSFS Bank also provided bond financing totaling $10.1 million and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank Pittsburgh) provided $650,000 through its Affordable Housing Program.

“At WSFS Bank, we are committed to helping organizations like DSHA do great work within our communities, and we are proud to support the housing authority in its latest efforts to renovate Liberty Court,” said Robert Matsko, vice president of commercial real estate. “DSHA has created a beautiful housing site that its residents will enjoy for many years to come.”

“We are privileged to partner with DSHA on this project to breathe new life into the Liberty Court site,” said Winthrop Watson, FHLBank Pittsburgh’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We recognize the value of the work DSHA does for Delawareans and are proud to support its efforts with this funding.”

Friday’s event also celebrated 20 successful years of DSHA helping Delawareans become economically self-sufficient through the MTW program. In 1999, HUD chose DSHA as one of 24 public housing agencies in the country to participate in MTW. Today, DSHA is one of just 39 public housing agencies, out of more than 3,400 total in the country, to participate in the MTW program.

MTW is a demonstration program that provides public housing agencies with the opportunity to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies. The program has three distinct goals: reducing costs; providing incentives for families to obtain employment and self-sufficiency; and increasing housing choices for low-income families.

Participants are allowed five years to successfully complete the MTW program. In those five years, participants pay rent totaling 35% of their adjusted monthly income. DSHA creates an escrow account for the resident and invests all rent paid over the 35% limit into that savings account. The participant is then required to work a certain number of hours each year of the MTW program and must complete a financial literacy course. At the end of the five years, if they have successfully completed all requirements, the participant then has access to 100% of the escrow account and can use that money to find housing at fair market rent or to buy a home.

Shantel Emory, a former MTW participant who successfully completed the program in 2018, was able to use about $7,800 saved during her five years with MTW to purchase a home in Magnolia.

“The MTW program gave me the financial stability I needed to achieve my goals and find secure housing for my family,” she said. “Without this program, it would have taken me several more years to save enough money to buy my first home. I am grateful DSHA offers this program in our state.”

Since 1999, DSHA has disbursed more than $3.3 million in Moving to Work savings to 995 families who successfully completed the program. Of those families, 698 moved into fair market rental housing and 297 bought a home. MTW often pairs well with DSHA’s homeownership programs, which can provide homebuyers with low-interest mortgages and down payment and closing cost assistance.