WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) on Thursday announced affordable housing and housing development initiatives to strengthen communities throughout Delaware.
DSHA will use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to develop a multitiered approach to address the affordable housing crisis across the state. DSHA will create the following programs as part of this initiative, and will administer the programs through 2026:
- Catalyst Fund (Expected launch: Summer 2022) – Creating and preserving affordable homeownership opportunities through the acquisition and rehabilitation of vacant homes in Delaware’s neighborhoods. These funds will be administered in partnership with Cinnaire, a certified Community Development Financial Institution that offers lending options for community development construction.
- Cinnaire will offer construction lending by leveraging ARPA funds to incentivize for-profit and nonprofit developers to purchase, renovate, or replace vacant and blighted properties. The for-profit or nonprofit developer will receive ARPA funding as part of their construction project financing so that the cost of the new or rehabilitated home remains affordable to low-income residents.
- Market Pressure Relief Fund (Expected launch: Summer 2022) – Relieving economic cost pressures on Delaware’s affordable housing development community. This will provide additional financing to owners of affordable multifamily rental projects currently under construction that have faced construction cost increases due to supply chain disruptions and inflation to ensure these projects are completed.
- Accelerator Fund (Expected launch: Fall 2022) – Leveraging once-in-a generation funding available to unlock Delaware’s development potential. The Accelerator Fund will provide an incentive to market-rate rental developers with planned construction projects to provide affordable rental units in their new or renovated properties. The developer will receive an upfront payment from DSHA, funded by ARPA, which will offset construction costs. As part of the funding agreement, the developer will commit to an affordable monthly rent for a specified number of units in a project that would otherwise be exclusively market-rate. This new program will also provide additional funds for traditional affordable rental developers that qualify for the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.
- Preservation Fund (Expected launch: Spring 2023) – Ensuring enduring affordability in Delaware’s existing affordable housing stock. These funds will offer financial incentives to ensure nearly 1,000 existing affordable rental units eligible to convert to market rate instead remain in the affordable rental inventory.
“We are investing in affordable housing development across our state so that more Delaware families have access to safe, affordable housing,” said Governor Carney. “We are using ARPA funds to make sure these affordable housing construction projects get through the finish line, support more Delawareans in becoming homeowners, and revitalize communities that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to members of our federal delegation and President Biden for providing these important resources through the American Rescue Plan Act.”
DSHA and its partners will host public meetings to gather feedback from the community and stakeholders before launching these new programs. The first meeting will focus on the Catalyst Fund and will take place the week of July 25. The purpose of the meetings is to ensure that the programs are designed to best meet the goal of increasing the availability of affordable housing in Delaware. More information, including upcoming meeting dates and program details, will be posted on destatehousing.com.
Delawareans can stay informed about housing program announcements by signing up for DSHA’s newsletter at destatehousing.com/NewsAndEvents/newsletters.php.
“DSHA is committed to stewarding these funds efficiently and transparently. With these historic investments, our state is firmly positioned to meet the critical needs of Delawareans across the state,” said Eugene Young Jr., Director of DSHA. “Whether you’re looking to rent, buy, or develop, we look forward to working in partnership with you to make Delaware a better place to live.”
Governor Carney on Thursday also announced over $28 million in ARPA-funded housing initiatives that will help improve current properties through rehabilitation, expand homeownership opportunities, and secure property for additional affordable housing development for low-income Delawareans.
Below are the projects included in the announcement:
Sussex County – $9.9 million
- NCALL Land Bank – $4 million to purchase property in Sussex and Kent counties for future affordable housing development.
- NCALL – $2.9 million to leverage $5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the development of 40 affordable rental housing units for poultry industry workers.
- Sussex Habitat for Humanity – $3 million to assist with Kimmeytown Revitalization in Georgetown, develop an Affordable Homeownership Creation project that will construct approximately 27 new affordable homes, and additional smaller projects.
Kent County – $6.9 million
- Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing – $5 million to acquire and develop three properties in Dover to address blight and homelessness.
- Milford Housing Development Corporation – $1.9 million to assist nearly 70 individuals in achieving homeownership through their homeownership programs and projects.
New Castle County – $11.5 million
- Todmorden Foundation/Woodlawn Trustees – $4.5 million to provide seniors in the City of Wilmington with additional affordable housing options.
- Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank – $4.5 million to address blight and provide revitalization to the houses around the new Bancroft School.
- Wilmington Housing Authority – $1.5 million to rehabilitate homes in the City of Wilmington and address blight.
- Southbridge Beautification – $1 million to address blight and provide repairs to more than 50 homes.
“Access to affordable housing is vital to a person’s health and well-being,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “The impacts of COVID-19 on our economy have made the dream of safe and affordable housing a more distant reality for many Delawareans. This ARPA investment will expand access to affordable housing options in communities that need it most, and make Delaware a stronger, healthier, more equitable state.”
“I applaud Governor Carney for addressing the affordable housing shortage in Delaware, a problem only made worse by the pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “When Senator Coons, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester and I were crafting the American Rescue Plan, this is just the kind of program we had in mind to help folks in need and strengthen our communities across the state.”
“I’m proud to have worked with President Biden to maximize the amount of housing money in the American Rescue Plan to give Delaware’s renters and homeowners access to the safe neighborhoods and affordable housing that they deserve,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “The lack of housing options for working Delawareans has pushed homeowners and renters to pay more than their fair share to find a decent place to live, and Governor Carney’s embrace of this federal money will create much needed housing all across our state that stays within the budgets of working Delawareans. I look forward to working with the governor and the rest of our state’s representatives in Washington to continue finding long-term solutions to our housing shortage.”
“We know that one of the most pressing needs in our state throughout the pandemic and during our recovery is the need for affordable housing,” said U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I was so proud to help secure millions of dollars for Delaware through the American Rescue Plan Act to do just that. I commend Governor Carney and the State for deploying these resources as part of our mission to ensure that every Delawarean has access to safe and affordable housing.”
DSHA announced last week the launch of the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program, which can provide up to $40,000 in financial assistance to eligible households who experienced a COVID-19-related financial hardship that resulted in mortgage delinquency or forbearance. This program is supported by the federal Homeowners Assistance Fund, which was created under ARPA and distributed to states to provide relief for homeowners. Delaware received $50 million. Homeowners can apply for the program by visiting demortgagehelp.com.
In addition to the new projects announced on Thursday, Governor Carney previously announced a $26.4 million ARPA investment in housing funding for the purpose-built community in northeast Wilmington to accelerate the development of 350 affordable homes to completion.
ARPA was championed in Congress by members of Delaware’s congressional delegation – Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester – and signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021.
Visit de.gov/rescueplan to learn more about Delaware’s ARPA investments.