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DSHA halts renters relief program after being swamped with applications

Delaware Public Media

Renters in Delaware will have to wait longer for COVID-19 relief from the state.

The  Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA)’s Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) is on hold after being swamped with applications from renters. 

The program was launched in just 3 days last month with $2 million from the state and $500,000 from New Castle County.  The pool of money available ultimately grew to just under $5 million.

DHSA Director Anas Ben Addi said they will use the break to process those requests and seek more funding.

“There are other resources that are coming to us through the federal housing programs and through the state,” Ben Addi said.  “So, we are using this time to evaluate and explore those resources and see how we can inject them into the program.   So, hopefully we can offer the program to more constituents within the state.”

As of Monday, only 1,300 of the 5,000 applications received were considered complete and out for referral to nine nonprofits working with DSHA. 

“The nonprofits will do the regular review and writing that they do for similar programs meaning verification of income, collecting the information about the landlord and the utility company.  Once that is approved, they will send it back to us and we will serve as the fiscal agent,” Ben Addi said. 

Ben Addi said the hope is that working with nonprofits will help connect people with additional resources such as daycare and transportation services.

Ben Addi expects the program which provides eligible tenants up to $1,500 toward rent and utilities will return once additional funding is secured.  Those already in the system could wait up to four weeks before hearing a decision on their applications.

He says, as of Monday, about 100 rent payments have been sent out so far.