Governor to Nominate Eugene Young as Director of Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA)

Director Anas Ben Addi is leaving for Chief Financial Officer position at Delaware State University

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday announced he will nominate Eugene Young, Jr., currently the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League (MWUL), as the next Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA).

Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority
Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider Governor Carney’s nomination on June 23. If confirmed by the Senate, Young would replace Director Anas Ben Addi, who has led Delaware’s housing and community development agency since 2009 and is leaving to become Chief Financial Officer at Delaware State University.

“I know Eugene well and I know he’s committed to strengthening the City of Wilmington and communities across Delaware, which is at the core of DSHA’s mission,” said Governor Carney. “He is the ideal candidate to take on this position and I’m confident he will build on progress to make affordable, safe housing accessible for all Delawareans. I also want to thank Director Ben Addi, who led DSHA through the foreclosure crisis in 2009 and has broadened the agency’s mission to include community and economic development efforts statewide. His leadership will be missed, and we wish him well at DSU.”

Young has served as President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League since 2017. He also founded the grassroots organizing nonprofit Network Delaware, served as an aide in the Delaware General Assembly, and also as an aide to former Mayor and current U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

“I am truly thankful for the opportunity to serve our state in this important role,” said Eugene Young, Jr. “As we continue to work our way out of this pandemic, accessible and affordable housing will be critical in our recovery. I look forward to working with the legislature, community, and key stakeholders to carry on the great work of Director Ben Addi and the incredible DSHA team.”

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Delaware as Director of DSHA for the last 12 years, and I am incredibly proud of the work our dedicated team at DSHA has accomplished during my tenure,” said Director Ben Addi. “I’m excited to take on this new challenge as Chief Financial Officer with Delaware State University and look forward to helping advance the mission of the university as a center for teaching, research and public service.”

Ben Addi was confirmed as Director of DSHA by the Delaware Senate in January 2009. During his time as Director, Ben Addi broadened the agency’s community development work, overseeing the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund to assist blighted neighborhoods statewide after the foreclosure crisis. He also oversaw the creation of the Downtown Development Districts program, which incentivizes investments in downtown areas statewide.

Previously, he served as Housing Finance Director for the agency, overseeing mortgage finance and affordable housing finance programs.

“Anas Ben Addi is an exceptionally talented public servant,” said Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. “He has used his vast experience in housing finance and planning and community development to transform the lives of the tens of thousands of Delawareans. He was not simply a cabinet secretary for two Governors. Anas is a solutions-driven leader who thinks holistically about culture, community, and people. I could not be more pleased to have him join our leadership team as the University’s Chief Financial Officer and am looking forward to working with him for years to come.”

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Governor Carney and DSHA Announce Reopening of COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

$200 million in financial assistance available to Delawareans struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19 crisis

WILMINGTON – Joined by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Governor John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi on Friday announced the reopening of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP), which provides financial assistance for renters affected by COVID-19. Landlords and tenants can apply for assistance beginning Monday, March 22, 2021 using DSHA’s application portal.

DEHAP provides financial assistance to renters experiencing unemployment or other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Out of $25 billion dedicated nationally through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the State of Delaware was awarded $200 million in emergency rent relief funds. Governor Carney has tasked DSHA with administering these funds for the state through DEHAP.

Per the new program guidelines, DEHAP now allows for up to 12 months of financial assistance, with the possibility of extended assistance for an additional three months. DEHAP can cover rent arrears dating from April 2020 and forward and current rent due. Payments will be made directly to landlords and property managers.

“I am thankful to our federal partners who were able to secure this significant funding for our state to help address the needs of tenants and landlords at this time,” said Governor John Carney. “We know many Delawareans continue to face a very challenging time as they struggle with the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis. By reopening the rental assistance program with this funding, we hope to help more Delaware families stay in their homes both during and after the pandemic.”

“For more than a year now, many Delawareans have been facing a very difficult and uncertain financial future,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “By reopening DEHAP, we can continue our efforts to keep Delawareans in their homes and prevent evictions. We are committed to distributing these rental assistance funds as quickly and efficiently as possible to help stabilize the rental market and provide help for as many eligible renters and landlords as we can throughout the state.”

“As our state continues to feel the effect of the pandemic, we need to continue doing as much as we can to help our neighbors in need keep the roof over their heads,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. “I was proud to support passing legislation that provided rental assistance funding for Delaware, and I hope these funds will go a long way to help Delawareans at a time when they need it most.”

“I was proud to join my colleagues to vote for this funding to help Delawareans facing financial hardships through no fault of their own,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “Even now, more than a year in to the pandemic, we are still seeing a significant economic impact from this crisis, especially in the rental market. This funding for DEHAP will help some of our state’s most vulnerable residents remain in their homes, avoiding eviction and homelessness.”

“Many of our state’s renters, particularly those with lower incomes, have been disproportionately impacted by layoffs, reduced work hours, or childcare needs resulting from the pandemic,” said U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. “I am honored to help announce the reopening of DEHAP and support funding for it. This program will provide much-needed relief to our state’s renters who have been struggling since the start of this crisis.”

DEHAP was first launched by DSHA in March of 2020, making DSHA the first housing finance agency in the country to launch a rental assistance program to assist tenants who were struggling to pay their rent because of a COVID-19 job loss or loss of income. When first launched, DSHA received an overwhelming response to the program and paused it to reassess funding availability. The program reopened in August 2020 and accepted applications through December.

In total, thus far, DSHA has approved nearly $15 million in rental assistance funding for 4,188 households since the DEHAP program was first launched.

Friday’s announcement event was held at The Flats, a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit site in Wilmington owned by Woodlawn Trustees. Several of the tenants living at The Flats received DEHAP assistance under previous versions of the program.

“This is such an important program for our families, many of whom have been directly affected by the pandemic with a job loss or other loss of income,” said Woodlawn Trustees CEO Rich Pryzwara. “We are honored to host today’s announcement event and look forward to helping our residents who are in need of assistance apply for help from DEHAP.”

Speaking at Friday’s event, Andre Frantone, a resident of The Flats, said he was laid off from his job as an executive chef at a local hotel due to the pandemic. In October, Frantone received about $4,000 in rental assistance from DEHAP. “This program was a lifeline for my family and me, and I am grateful for the assistance it provided us,” he said. “Without the help from DEHAP, I’m not sure what would have happened to my family. I encourage anyone in Delaware who is struggling to pay their rent to look into the program and see if it can help them.”

To qualify for DEHAP, households must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which they reside as well as meet several other criteria. Per federal guidelines, DSHA will prioritize applications for households at or below 50% of the area median income level and households where one or more members are currently unemployed and have been for at least 90 days. Income eligibility per county and other program requirements can be found on DSHA’s new DEHAP website at www.decovidhousinghelp.com or by calling 866-935-0407. The website provides step-by-step tutorial videos and Frequently Asked Questions for landlords and tenants who plan to initiate applications to DEHAP. Both landlords and tenants can initiate an application for DEHAP, but they will need to work together to ensure proper documentation is provided by both parties.

Tenants who received DEHAP assistance previously may receive rental assistance again for rent arrears or rent not already paid by DEHAP, but they will need to reapply for the program since eligibility requirements and program documentation have changed.

The application portal will go live on Monday, March 22, 2021. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to review the eligibility information and required documentation in advance at www.decovidhousinghelp.com so they are prepared to submit their applications when the portal opens.

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DSHA’s Eviction Defense, COVID-19 Rental Assistance, and Homes for Grads Programs Win National Awards

DOVER – Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) received national recognition for three of its newest programs when they were honored with a 2020 Annual Award for Program Excellence during the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) annual conference. DSHA received the most awards of any state housing authority in the country. The conference was held virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The awards recognized the success of DSHA’s Eviction Defense Program (EDP), which provides legal representation for low-income tenants facing eviction; COVID-19 rental assistance program, which provides financial assistance for tenants financially impacted by the pandemic; and Homes for Grads, a homeownership program offering lower interest rates for recent college graduates.

“We are honored to receive these awards on behalf of our partners and the many Delawareans who have benefitted from these programs,” said Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi. “Throughout the pandemic, we have helped individuals and families across Delaware remain in their homes through programs like the Delaware Housing Assistance Program and the Eviction Defense Program. We are proud to be recognized by our peers for our efforts and for the innovative work we are doing.”

DSHA was one of 38 housing finance agencies across the country to submit entries in the 2020 awards program and one of 16 states to win an award. More than 100 entries were submitted for consideration. NCSHA judges evaluate each entry for its level of innovation, replicability, measurable benefit to housing agency customers, effective use of resources and achievement of strategic objectives, among other criteria. The judges are affordable housing industry leaders and subject matter experts selected for their relevant expertise, experience, and impartiality.

“This year’s award winners reflect the innovation state HFAs around the country have shown in responding to the coronavirus, as well as their progress in solving the longstanding housing affordability needs of their states and the nation,” said NCSHA Executive Director Stockton Williams. “Delaware State Housing Authority has been at the forefront of some of the most pressing housing-related issues facing Delawareans before and during the pandemic, and NCSHA is proud to honor the housing authority with these awards to recognize their hard work.”

The Eviction Defense Program (EDP) provides legal representation for tenants facing eviction in Delaware. Delaware’s Legal Aid organizations receive funding through DSHA and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s homelessness prevention tool, Home4Good, to support the EDP. In addition to expanding access to counsel, the EDP also includes funding to pay rent and utility arrearages, directly addressing what is often an underlying cause of eviction. This additional funding for rent and utility arrears is a unique aspect of DSHA’s EDP compared to similar programs in other states.

“We are very excited about this recognition for DSHA and are proud to partner with the housing authority on their efforts to support tenants facing eviction in Delaware by providing legal representation,” said Daniel Atkins, Executive Director of Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. “The Eviction Defense Program directly addresses the justice gap many low-income Delawareans encounter when facing eviction, and the importance of this program has only been heightened by the pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need to help more Delawareans remain in their homes, and the Eviction Defense Program is a critical resource to do just that.”

DSHA’s Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP) was launched in late March and provides up to $8,000 in assistance to tenants in Delaware who are struggling financially due to a pandemic-related job loss, loss of income or illness. To date, DSHA has approved or is processing nearly 3,000 applications at a total of almost $8.8 million in rental assistance. DSHA partnered with the Delaware Judiciary on resources for tenants facing eviction, including DE HAP and an Online Dispute Resolution system.

“This is a great program that has helped so many Delawareans during these difficult times, and the Delaware Judiciary is pleased to be a partner with DSHA to help renters and landlords find equitable resolutions,” said Justice of the Peace Court Chief Magistrate Alan Davis. “We congratulate the housing authority on this worthy accomplishment and look forward to continuing our great partnership.”

Launched in June 2019, DSHA’s Homes for Grads program provides a reduced mortgage rate of 50 basis points or one-half of a percentage for homebuyers in Delaware who have graduated college with a four-year degree or higher within the last three years. The discount offered by DSHA provides the typical buyer with savings of roughly $60 a month or about $720 annually and $21,600 over the life of the loan. Due to market volatility related to the global pandemic, the program has been temporarily paused. To date, DSHA has closed on 54 Homes for Grads loans at a total of more than $11.6 million.


DSHA Celebrates Grand Opening of Splash Laundromat, Presents DDD Rebate Check

GEORGETOWN – Governor John Carney, Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi, local legislators, town officials and members of the business community celebrated the grand opening of Splash Laundromat on Friday and presented a Downtown Development Districts (DDD) rebate check in the amount of $457,997 to owners Enrique and Veronica Nunez. The Nunezes applied for and received a DDD reservation in fall 2017 in support of the project.

“I am honored to celebrate the grand opening of Splash Laundromat and present a DDD rebate check to Enrique and Veronica Nunez for their hard work to help revitalize Georgetown’s downtown area,” said Governor Carney. “This project demonstrates how the DDD program can be used as a valuable resource during this time for small businesses looking to expand, entrepreneurs opening new businesses, and homeowners completing renovation projects in our state’s downtowns.”

During Friday’s event, Director Ben Addi also announced that the latest round of funding is now available for large project rebate reservations through the DDD program. DSHA is accepting applications from investors and business owners through January 8, 2021.

“Community development is central to DSHA’s mission, and we are pleased to be able to offer this funding to support continued economic growth in our downtowns,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “We hope Enrique and Veronica Nunez’s story will inspire other business owners and investors to take advantage of the DDD program and apply for an award for their own large or small projects in one of the state’s 12 designated districts.”

The Nunezes purchased the property where Splash Laundromat is located in September 2015. At that time, the structure was vacant, but since then, the Nunezes have renovated and expanded the building to include the laundromat, a hair salon, and a coffee shop and snack bar on the first floor with three apartments on the second floor. The total development cost for the project was nearly $2.7 million.

“We could not have completed this project without the support of the DDD program,” said Enrique Nunez. “This program gave us the financial security of knowing we would receive a portion of our total development cost back as a rebate. For a small business owner, this security is crucial, especially given the current economic situation, and we are grateful to DSHA and the State of Delaware for offering business owners like us the opportunity to participate in the DDD program.”

Established in May 2014, the DDD program was created to spur private capital investment in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods; stimulate job growth and improve the commercial vitality of our cities and towns; and help build a stable community of long-term residents in our downtowns and other neighborhoods. Investors who make qualified real property investments in one of 12 designated districts can apply for a rebate of up to 20 percent of eligible costs. The designated districts are: Clayton, Delaware City, Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Middletown, Milford, the City of New Castle, Seaford, Smyrna and Wilmington.

Since the first reservation awards in April 2015, the DDD program has been a catalyst for private investment in Delaware’s downtowns, with $36 million in rebates through the program leveraging $630 million in private investment in designated downtown districts in all three counties.

Under the latest round of funding, investors can apply for a DDD reservation award for large property construction or redevelopment project investments of more than $350,000. Applications for small projects – an investment between $25,000 and $350,000 – are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year based on available funding. During this funding round, $10 million is available for large projects while $2 million is available for small projects.

Investments eligible for DDD rebate funds include capital investments on rehabilitation, expansion or new construction for commercial, industrial, residential or mixed-use buildings within the district boundaries. Rebates are issued after the project is completed. Qualified applicants include property owners, tenants, for-profit developers, nonprofit organizations, businesses and homeowners.

Applications for large project rebate funding must be received by DSHA by 4 p.m. on January 8, 2021. Additional information and application materials are available at www.destatehousing.com/ddd or can be obtained by calling DSHA at 888-363-8808.


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.