DSHA Launches Homeownership Program for Recent College Graduates

DOVER – Governor John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi announced the launch of a new homeownership program for recent college graduates at an event recognizing Homeownership Month. The new program, Homes for Grads, will offer discounted rates on DSHA’s down payment assistance loans for homebuyers who have graduated college with a four-year degree or higher in the last three years.

Joining the Governor and Director Ben Addi to launch the program were elected officials, higher education officials, realtors, lenders and housing counselors.

Homes for Grads will provide a reduced mortgage rate of 50 basis points or one-half of a percentage for recent college graduates when they are accessing one of DSHA’s Preferred Plus loans which include down payment and settlement assistance.

“Having an educated workforce is critically important to our state, but one of the economic development challenges we face is attracting college graduates to our state and keeping them here,” said Governor Carney. “The Homes for Grads program is another incentive we can offer to encourage these graduates to make Delaware their home. We think this can have a lasting impact on our state’s economic wellbeing by encouraging our best and brightest residents to stay here in Delaware, contributing to our economy and to our communities.”

With the cost of a college education continuing to rise each year, many graduates will leave school with student debt, including 65 percent of Delawareans. This debt can be a significant barrier to affording monthly payments and saving for a down payment.

“We want to make buying a home a reality for more Delawareans throughout our state. The Homes for Grads program will help us reach this recent college graduate population who may be struggling with student debt and facing other barriers to homeownership,” said Director Ben Addi. “The program will make the home-buying process easy and affordable for those who have just completed their college education.”

“The Homes for Grads program offers a great opportunity for Delaware State University graduates to put down roots here in our state,” said Provost Tony Allen. “Our graduates have the knowledge and skills that Delaware employers are looking for, and this new program provides an additional incentive to encourage them to buy a home and stay in Delaware after they finish their schooling.”

Homes for Grads is being funded with a $10 million commitment from DSHA and will be subsidized by revenues from DSHA’s primary homeownership loan programs. In addition, the program is financed with support from Discover Bank.

“Discover Bank is proud of our successful partnership with DSHA to provide mortgages to low- and moderate-income borrowers throughout our state,” said Bank President James J. Roszkowski. “This Homeownership Month, I am pleased to say that, through our partnership with DSHA, we helped over 2,200 families reach the goal of homeownership last year, with over $350 million in mortgage financing. The Homes for Grads program is an excellent example of DSHA’s creative strategies to improve the mortgage program. Discover Bank has $50 million in commitment remaining to DSHA for mortgage financing in 2019 to support this effort, and others, to help our neighbors, and our communities.”

DSHA will work with its participating lenders to offer the Homes for Grads program to recent college graduates. Tracy Chongling, vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, a participating DSHA lender, said she sees great potential in the new Homes for Grads program and is thrilled to be able to offer it to potential homebuyers. “I hear every day from Delawareans who do not think they will be able to afford to buy a home, including many college graduates who have not been able to save for a down payment due to student loan debt,” she said. “This new program will help so many of these individuals and families achieve the American dream of buying their own home.”

Buyers who participate in the Homes for Grads program must meet eligibility requirements for DSHA’s homeownership loan programs, including credit score and income limits. They will be required to have a minimum credit score of 620. If their credit score is not at this number, DSHA offers financial coaching to help buyers improve their score and get on the path to homeownership.

In correlation with the launch of this new program, DSHA is also adjusting the income levels for its homeownership programs in order to provide more opportunities for residents to purchase homes in Delaware. The new income limits are based on the area median incomes for Delaware’s three counties and are tied to the number of people living in a household. Previously, DSHA used a flat household income limit for all buyers. The new income limits can be found on DSHA’s homeownership website.

Recent college graduates who are interested in learning more about how to participate in Homes for Grads should visit DSHA’s homeownership website or contact a participating lender.


$3.2 Million Awarded to Strong Neighborhoods Projects

 

DOVER – Seven projects statewide will receive $3.2 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 (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and elected officials and community leaders from across Delaware.

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 third round of funding since the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund was launched in 2015. The investment of $3.2 million will leverage an estimated $9.4 million in private or other funding sources and lead to more than 60 new or rehabilitated housing units in Wilmington, New Castle County, Dover, Milford and Georgetown.

“Many of the communities in our state continue to feel the ripple effects of the recession and the foreclosure crisis,” said Governor Carney. “The Strong Neighborhoods program provides organizations working in these communities the resources to acquire abandoned properties, renovate or remove them and build beautiful homes in their place. The funding announced today will directly impact families by improving communities and providing increased access to homeownership.”

“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:

 Wilmington

  • Central Baptist Community Development Corporation (CBCDC): $500,000 to address and rehabilitate 10 vacant properties in the city’s East Side Neighborhood. This project is a joint effort between the CBCDC and Cinnaire Solutions.
  • Cinnaire Solutions: $450,000 for acquisition, demolition and new construction of nine long-term vacant properties on the 600 block of W. 8th Street in West Center City. This project is a partnership between Cinnaire and the Delaware Valley Development Company, a long-standing Delaware-based affordable housing developer.
  • Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank (WNCLB): $505,000 to acquire and demolish 10 or more vacant properties on the 600 block of N. Jefferson Street in West Center City. This project supports the same neighborhood of vacant properties as the Cinnaire project.

 New Castle County

  • New Castle County Department of Community Services, $400,000 to continue revitalization efforts along the Route 9 corridor. Funds will be used to purchase and renovate four blighted and vacant homes in the Collins Park community and four additional homes in the distressed community of Edgemoor Gardens.

 Dover

  • NCALL Research, $500,000 to support 10 newly constructed homes in the Restoring Central Dover target area within the Downtown Development District (DDD). This is a partnership between NCALL and Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity.

Milford

  • Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC), $350,000 to support seven newly constructed or rehabbed homes. This work will take place in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Milford where several DDD projects are already underway.

Georgetown

  • Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, $500,000 to identify and acquire 10 properties in the Kimmeytown neighborhood. Two properties will be sold to the MHDC to reconstruct or rehabilitate.

The CBCDC in Wilmington will use Strong Neighborhoods funding as they continue efforts to improve the East Side of the city. “The East Side community has historically faced low home ownership levels and high levels of vacancy and blight. This funding will have a significant impact on stabilizing this neighborhood and creating greater opportunity for homeownership in an area that has previously seen few homeowners,” said Rev. Dr. Terrence Keeling, President and CEO of the CBCDC.

In Dover, NCALL and Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity will use Strong Neighborhoods funding to continue efforts to address dilapidated properties within neighborhoods around Queen Street, North New Street and North Kirkwood Street. The target area is made up of 75 blocks within the downtown Dover area with a homeownership rate of just 25 percent. “Dover is grateful to the Governor and DSHA for their support of our efforts to strengthen city neighborhoods,” said Mayor Christiansen. “With these funds, we can continue to address these blighted properties and give residents of these communities the opportunity to become homeowners.”   

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity will use their $500,000 award to improve the Georgetown neighborhood known as Kimmeytown. “Many of the homes in this part of the town are dilapidated and in need of significant repair, with overcrowding and absentee landlords creating a stock of vacant and blighted housing. Working with the Kimmeytown Partnership, this funding will allow us to completely transform this area,” said Kevin Gilmore, executive director of the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.

Since the launch of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund in 2015, $11.25 million has been awarded to organizations throughout the state, leveraging an estimated $34.2 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 2019 state bond bill. Including the awards announced today, the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund has provided resources to remove, renovate, or replace more than 230 blighted properties throughout the state.


DSHA Launches New Homeownership Website

DOVER, DE – For anyone in Delaware looking to buy a home, Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) has launched a new website that provides convenient and detailed information about the authority’s homeownership programs and the home-buying process. The website, www.kissyourlandlordgoodbye.com, connects potential homebuyers in the state with resources on low interest mortgage loans, down payment assistance, the Delaware First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and more.

“Purchasing a home can be one of the most rewarding decisions someone can make. Owning a home can provide a sense of security, independence and pride,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “In addition to the benefits owning a home has for the individual or family, we also know that encouraging homeownership helps strengthen and support our communities and can reduce crime. This new website will be an invaluable tool for DSHA and will allow us to help more Delawareans achieve the dream of homeownership.” 

“This is an incredible resource for our customers,” said Don Byrom Jr. (NMLS#709360), a loan officer at M&T Bank, CRA Mortgage Division. “We often hear from those looking to buy a home that they are unsure of where to start in the process. DSHA’s new website will now be that starting point where potential homebuyers can go for more information to begin their journey to buying a home.”

For potential homebuyers who are ready to take the next step in the process, DSHA’s new website provides information on participating lenders, housing counselors and realtors who work directly with the authority to offer homeownership loans and down payment and closing cost assistance.

DSHA officially unveiled the new website at the 2019 Delaware Homebuyer Fair on April 13, where more than 400 potential homebuyers received information on finding properties, obtaining low-cost financing, down payment assistance, home inspections and maintenance and budgeting.


Building and Sustaining a Stronger, More Prosperous Delaware

Revitalizing Delaware Downtowns

Dover, DE – In the weeks ahead, the Governor’s office will release a series of videos highlighting the progress the state has made over the past eight years through the voices of Delawareans. They will address ways in which the lives of Delawareans today, and generations to come, are being affected by efforts to strengthen our schools, develop cleaner and more efficient energy, make the state a safer and more welcoming place for all people, improve recreational and cultural options, and create more economic development and opportunity.

In conjunction with today’s event recognizing Homeownership Month, the below video addresses the impact of one initiative: the Downtown Development Districts program, which has leveraged almost $10 million into $160 million in private investment across all three counties. Through the DDD program, the state is encouraging private developers to re-invest in Delaware’s downtown areas. In Downtown Dover, as you’ll see below, the program already is helping support new, affordable homeownership opportunities.

In addition to improvements as a result of the DDD program, the Delaware State Housing Authority has continued to promote homeownership through low-cost mortgage loans, its down payment assistance programs and first-time homebuyer tax credits. Since 2009, more than 5,500 Delaware families have purchased a home with DSHA assistance, and growth of Delaware’s homeownership rate has outpaced regional and national trends. Access to low rates and settlement assistance through DSHA’s programs helped sustain demand through the economic recovery.

Excerpts from the video:

“As we start to transform some of the neighborhood blocks, bring in homeownership and provide affordable housing that helps to stabilize the area makes the business investment more attractive,” Ann Marie Townshend, Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Dover, said. “We’re working equally as hard to work with the business community to bring in additional businesses to get some of the commercial properties renovated and built.”

“What we’re able to do is create that affordable homeownership by keeping the cost of construction down and by also raising funds to use the DDD funds and leveraging those to other organizations, so we can make this affordable homeownership possible,” Jonathon Gallo, Executive Director of Central Habitat for Humanity, said.

“I think the state should always invest in their communities. This isn’t a bad place,” Alicia Jarvis, Kirkwood Street Homeowner, said. “Dover is a great place and what I see what’s coming along on this street alone is an awesome experience.”

The video series will be released via email as well as on the Governor’s YouTube channel. This week’s video is available on:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/pixtyzQxLsA
Delaware.Gov: http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/governormarkell
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/governormarkell


Governor’s Weekly Message: Expanding Opportunities to Promote Homeownership

Wilmington, DE – In his weekly message, Governor Markell talks about the benefits of homeownership and the effort to expand those opportunities through access to credit and financing assistance and financial literacy education, and partnerships among government, non-profits and the business community to drive accessible and affordable housing development statewide.

“Owning a home is part of the American Dream. Promoting homeownership is a good way to improve peoples’ lives, and the Delaware State Housing Authority has led our effort to expand those opportunities through programs like our first-time homebuyer tax credit and the Home Again initiative for repeat homebuyers,” Governor Markell said. “Our Downtown Development Districts are providing incentives to developers to build near employment centers and close to public transportation, and we’ve increased homeownership opportunities for Delawareans across income levels. These initiatives demonstrate the good we can do by working across agencies, with not-for-profits and the business community to solve problems for real people, and thanks to these partnerships Delaware’s homeownership rate today is the third highest in the country. That’s an advantage as we compete in the global marketplace for new businesses and new jobs. And that will keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/qCYHNX7O08c
Delaware.Gov:http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/governormarkell
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/governormarkell

Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Expanding Opportunities to Promote Homeownership