Governor Carney Announces American Rescue Plan Act Housing Initiatives

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.

 

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Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long, DSCYF Announce $16 Million Investment for Vulnerable Delawareans

WILMINGTON, Del. –Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) on Tuesday announced a $16 million investment to renovate and remodel Wharton Hall on the DSCYF campus.

The new facilities will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 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.

“Our Children’s Department showed up every day during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve our community. These ARPA investments will help us support the work these public servants do every day and address a gap in behavioral health services,” said Governor Carney. “Thank you to Senator Carper, Senator Coons and Representative Blunt Rochester for their advocacy efforts on the American Rescue Plan Act that will help Delaware recover from this pandemic and make our community stronger.”

The goal of this investment is to add more in-state crisis beds and create a state-of-the-art, trauma-informed behavioral health diagnostic center to meet the complex needs of adolescents.

“Investing in our children means we’re investing in our future,” said Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Thanks to funds from the American Rescue Plan, which we voted to pass in March of last year, the State of Delaware will be able to completely renovate Wharton Hall on the Delaware Youth and Family Center campus. With these improvements, Wharton Hall will once again be able to provide much-needed support for Delaware children and their families.”

“Our children are faced with challenges every single day that affect their mental and physical health. Since the pandemic, mental health related visits for teenagers has increased 31 percent and suspected suicide attempts has increased 39 percent,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, PhD, RNC, FAAN. “Ensuring we have a top-tier equitable system in place to support the behavioral health needs of our youth, especially when they are most vulnerable and in crisis, is one of the most critical investments we can make. These enhancements, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, will help us deliver quality care to make Delaware families stronger and healthier. I am grateful for the leadership of our Governor and congressional delegation.”

“One in three high school students are reporting that they feel persistently sad and hopeless,” said Secretary of DSCYF Josette Manning. “This adolescent diagnosis center and expansion of crisis beds will allow us to provide better services to youth and adolescents while we keep them closer to their homes and closer to their communities, with targeted interventions to help stabilize them so that, ideally, they can return to their homes and their communities sooner. Thank you to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Federal Delegation, and the General Assembly for their support.”

Watch the press conference here.

Learn more about Delaware’s American Rescue Plan Investments here.


Delaware Announces Start of Universal Broadband Construction

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and State Chief Information Officer Jason Clarke of the Department of Technology and Information (DTI) on Thursday announced $56 million in Broadband Infrastructure Grants to begin making high-speed wired broadband connections available to every Delaware home. The award recipients, Comcast, Verizon and Mediacom, are current State of Delaware service providers with existing broadband infrastructure that responded to a grant application released in October 2021. The three companies will extend their existing coverage areas to serve more than 11,600 Delaware homes and businesses which do not have access to high-speed, wired broadband service. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

Broadband Infrastructure Grant Awards:

  • Comcast – $33.1 million
  • Verizon – $11.8 million
  • Mediacom – $11.1 million

“Stable, high-speed internet connection is important for all Delaware families, students, and businesses,” said Governor Carney. “Now, with the availability of federal funds, we are on our way to giving Delawareans across the state access to connect to school, work, health care, and more. Thank you to the Department of Technology and Information working toward our goal of being the first state to connect every residence and business to broadband internet.”

Over the next 36 months, Comcast, Verizon and Mediacom will build out and extend current infrastructure to deliver fixed, wireline internet access with transmission speeds that, at a minimum, provide 100 megabits per second (100 Mbps) download and 20 megabits per second (20 Mbps) upload.

Delawareans can find out if their area has internet access and report addresses that do not using Delaware’s Broadband Hub (https://gis.broadband.delaware.gov/). DTI plans to update the interactive map with expansion project updates and real-time data. Addresses reported as lacking service during the construction phase will be included within the current project.

“Expanding access to reliable broadband service has long been a priority for Delaware,” said Chief Information Officer of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information Jason Clarke. “Thanks to our ability to leverage funding made available from Congress and the President and with the support of Governor Carney, we are excited to execute on the strategy of our stakeholders and our well-positioned vendor community to close the digital divide in Delaware.” 

The Broadband Infrastructure Grants are part of the $110 million commitment to broadband infrastructure Governor Carney announced in August 2021. Funding for this initiative comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, both of which were supported by the Delaware congressional delegation –  Senator Tom Carper, Senator Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester – and signed into law by President Biden. 

The grants cover up to 75 percent of the capital construction costs, with the internet service providers contributing a minimum 25 percent match. Selections were made based on an efficient edge-out strategy extending the services of current vendors to close broadband gaps as outlined in the Delaware Broadband Strategic Plan. This plan was developed by a diverse group of stakeholders with representation from the public and private sector across the state. Applicants had to be current State of Delaware service providers with existing broadband infrastructure to be eligible for the grant.

“We are thrilled to be given this opportunity to expand Mediacom’s fiber network and increase high-speed broadband access within Delaware,” said Chris Lord, Mediacom’s Director of Government Partnerships. “The staff at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information created an amazingly efficient application process that effectively utilizes public resources to encourage private investment while leveraging existing fiber infrastructure.”  

“Verizon is excited to participate in Delaware’s Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, ” said Tony Lewis, Vice President of Public Policy for Verizon. “This Grant will help Verizon deploy our best in class all-fiber network technology to deliver our flagship Fios Home Internet service — with speeds up to 940 Mbps and no data caps —  to roughly 3,000 additional unserved locations. We appreciate the leadership of Governor Carney and the other State officials in quickly and aggressively implementing the federal funding that President Biden and Congress have made available to help close the digital divide. We look forward to a continued partnership with the State for this and future programs that will flow from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“We’re proud to partner with the state of Delaware and continue our investment to bring our fiber-rich network and advanced services to residents up and down the state,” said Michael Parker, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “This partnership will bolster the hundreds of millions of dollars Comcast has already invested in the state to connect thousands of currently unserved homes to our gigabit speed fiber network. Technology is a powerful driver of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, and we’re committed to helping individuals and communities fully participate in the digital economy.”

For more information on investments with American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, visit de.gov/rescueplan and de.gov/infrastructure.

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COVID-19 Funding for Vulnerable Delawareans and DHSS Health Care Professionals at 24/7 Facilities

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) on Tuesday announced almost $17 million in financial support for Delawareans impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, as well as health care professionals at DHSS’ 24/7 facilities.

The new support, which also will expand COVID vaccinations and testing, and provide housing assistance for vulnerable Delawareans, is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 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.

“It’s been two years since we saw our first COVID-19 case in Delaware. Our dedicated teams at the Department of Health and Social Services have been on the frontlines of our battle against the virus. These ARPA investments will continue building on their great work in responding and mitigating the virus across our state,” said Governor Carney. “We have provided significant funding to DHSS because of the tremendous dedication, sacrifice and innovation of our public health professionals. Thank you to Senator Carper, Senator Coons and Representative Blunt Rochester for their advocacy and efforts on the American Rescue Plan Act that will help Delaware recover from this pandemic.”

“The pandemic has affected all Delawareans, but some communities have been hit particularly hard and are still struggling to recover. The heart of the American Rescue Plan is to help those folks who have borne the brunt of this battle,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “I applaud Governor Carney and Secretary Magarik for directing these vital funds to take care of our most vulnerable Delawareans and those who serve them.”

“A year after The American Rescue Plan Act passed and went to President Biden’s desk, it continues to provide critical funding for our state to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build our communities’ resiliency,” said U.S. Senator Coons. “I’m grateful for the unwavering dedication from DHSS, Governor Carney, and the entire congressional delegation in doing everything possible to support pandemic relief efforts.”

“The almost $17 million in funding announced today for DHSS is another example of how the historic American Rescue Plan Act, which I voted for and was passed one year ago this week, continues to provide much-need support to Delawareans in need,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “Ensuring that our most vulnerable Delawareans have the resources they need – retention payments, housing, vaccines, etc. – continues to be of the utmost importance to me, and I commend Governor Carney and DHSS for staying committed to this mission throughout the First State to help us recover from this pandemic.”

“These funds address the true intent of ARPA where they will have the greatest impact by helping homebound citizens, childcare centers, homeless individuals and our health and social services workers on the frontlines fighting COVID. As we continue to recover from COVID, we will provide vaccines to homebound persons, expand testing to childcare centers, work on retaining our health workforce, and provide housing supports to those impacted by the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Ph.D., R.N. “As a nurse, I have witnessed firsthand the bravery and dedication of our health care workforce and I want to thank the Congressional leaders for the funds. These much needed federal funds are going to directly help those who need help the most. That is how we will continue to build a stronger, healthier, equitable state.”

“As we begin this chapter of recovery, we are grateful to the Governor and the congressional delegation for their continued support of Delawareans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik. “Too many individuals and families remain vulnerable in our state, including those in low-income communities, people of color, and older Delawareans and individuals with disabilities. This round of federal funding will help meet their ongoing needs and also support DHSS in retaining critical direct-care workforce in our 24/7 facilities, who care for vulnerable Delawareans with compassion and dedication every day.”

The new round of ARPA-funded projects related to DHSS includes:

  • Retention payments ($6.7 million): In response to the shortage of health care workers in Delaware and nationwide, DHSS is providing quarterly retention payments to RNs, LPNs, CNAs and other direct-care staff at its 24/7 facilities.
  • Housing assistance ($6 million): To keep hundreds of Delaware families impacted by the crisis in motels and hotels and other temporary housing services, this funding will allow more families to begin the transition from emergency housing to permanent housing. 
  • COVID testing in child care centers ($1.5 million): In partnership with the Delaware Department of Education, funding will provide for COVID-19 testing at early childhood development and education centers. Quidel, which has provided rapid antigen testing at Delaware’s K-12 schools beginning in 2021, will expand its services to child care centers.
  • Housing for vulnerable pregnant women ($1.5 million): The Division of Public Health will support a housing model with wraparound services to serve pregnant women who housing insecure.
  • Homebound COVID vaccine hotline ($1.1 million): For older Delawareans and individuals with disabilities who have difficulty accessing COVID-19 vaccine locations, DHSS is expanding its existing program, which delivers vaccines to people who are homebound, in partnership with independent pharmacies, pharmacist contractors, and nursing students and their supervisors. Delawareans can be assessed for an at-home vaccine or booster by calling DHSS’ toll-free hotline at 1-888-491-4988.
  • Emergency supplies for families ($194,000): For families enrolled in home visiting programs, contractors through the Division of Public Health will provide emergency supplies, including face masks, hand sanitizer, no-touch thermometers, diapers, infant formula, food and water. 

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Governor Carney Announces $40 Million of American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Funding for Delaware Libraries

Funds for Nine Libraries Across the State

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced Thursday $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to be distributed to libraries throughout all three counties.

The investments are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Relief Fund, which was championed by Delaware’s Congressional Delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. ARPA was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

Capital Relief projects under ARPA must meet strict criteria to be eligible for funding. That includes funding projects that specifically enable work, education, and health monitoring – and respond to issues created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved Delaware’s plans to invest in libraries statewide. Additional capital awards funded by ARPA will be announced soon.

“Children and families will benefit from these investments for generations to come,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware’s libraries serve our communities with resources, collaboration and creativity. Many of these investments are in our communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the central role libraries serve in our communities as hubs for job training, employment searches, education, COVID-19 test kit distributions and vaccination sites. I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their advocacy and look forward to seeing significant results from these investments.”

“When we were crafting the American Rescue Plan, we were looking at ways to make investments that will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” said Senator Tom Carper. “When we invest in our libraries, we are really helping someone find a job, providing a safe place for the community to gather and learn, and giving people access to resources that they wouldn’t normally have. I am proud of Governor Carney’s commitment to strengthening communities through investing in our much-needed libraries.” 

“Libraries house centuries of learning, information sharing, and free access to educational resources,” said Senator Chris Coons. “Investing in our libraries begins the next chapter for greater public education, social uplift, and a principled commitment to helping Delawareans fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to support Governor Carney and my congressional delegation in recognizing the value of our libraries and their role in our social infrastructure and community health.”

“Libraries across our state and country play such a vital role in the communities they serve. Whether it’s giving Delawareans access to countless literary titles, serving as a meeting place for local organizations, to serving as an area of inspiration for the arts and the humanities – libraries are vital to the well-being of our communities,” said Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I’m so thrilled to join Governor Carney and my congressional colleagues in announcing this much-needed investment in Delaware libraries – so that these pillars of our communities can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“Our libraries are so much more than a place to check out books. They really are gateways for learning and discovery and allow our communities to come together and access so many vital services,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I am so proud of the incredible contributions our libraries continue to make to our communities. Delaware libraries are setting the example for others to follow in the fight against COVID-19 and serving to make our state stronger and healthier. Thanks to Governor Carney and the congressional delegation, the impact from these investments, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, will be felt for generations to come.”

The $40 million of investments announced will improve nine libraries across the state. This funding will be used for new construction and improvements to existing structures, including:

  • $7 million to the Selbyville Library for a new building
  • $5.6 million to the Harrington Library for a new building
  • $750,000 to the Lewes Public Library for a new outdoor pavilion
  • $900,000 to the Milford Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
  • $250,000 to the Georgetown Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
  • $7.8 million to the Friends of Duck Creek Regional Library to build an expanded library
  • $11 million to the North Wilmington Library for a new building
  • $4 million to the Newark Public Library for a new building
  • $3 million to the Rehoboth Beach Public Library for upgrades

“Governor Carney’s strategic investment in libraries supports equity for communities throughout the state,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian. “Delaware Libraries are shovel-ready to strengthen the social services infrastructure for digital equity, workforce development, and more statewide.”

The Governor’s Recommended Bond Bill for FY 2023 announced in late January includes an additional $26.8 million in state funding to match the federal funding for the five new libraries.

For a full list of Delaware’s ARPA allocations, click here.