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$5.5 million to address vacant, abandoned First State homes


The state is giving $5.5 million dollars to nine projects across the First State – with the goal of restoring vacant homes and putting them back on the market.

First-time homeowner Patricia Benton’s New Castle home was among those revitalized since September during the first phase of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund.


“I was looking for a home, I had just retired, I didn’t want to live in Philadelphia, and so I was given a realtor’s name in Delaware," Benton said. "And I called them and they gave me an appointment to come on in. She showed me a lot of homes until this home at 20th Reeve Avenue.”

She says she knew from the moment she saw it that she wanted it.

“My son and I looked at each other and said: this is my home," Benton said.

Benton adds she didn't even know the home was previously vacant because of its brand new appliances.

And the price was right - $157,000.

Carrie Casey with New Castle County’s Division of Community Development and Housing says all of the homes fixed up through the housing fund have state of the art appliances, and notes they are in demand.

With the $1.3 million in new funds they’re getting, Casey says they’ll build 10 new units and rehab 17 others along the Route 9 corridor. Prospective homeowners just have to qualify for the home and undergo housing counseling to participate.


Additionally through this new round of awards - the city of Wilmington has received over $2 million for projects, $1.5 million is going to projects in Kent County and $500,000 to Sussex.

Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Executive Director Gary Pallio says funds going to his group will help it continue creating affordable housing for artists in Wilmington’s Creative District.


“They’re not exactly neighborhoods that everybody’s just dying to live in, but yet the fact of the matter is that it’s important for us to make home ownership available for the people in these distressed communities," Pallio said.

Pallio says the sale of the first of the revitalized artist homes is closing this Friday.  

He adds the Strong Neighbors Housing Fund works because it helps organizations like his leverage other private dollars. An estimated $15 million in private funds are being added to the $5.5 million in state dollars.


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