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Gov. Carney executive order to bail out homeowners not covered for recent storm damage

Kelli Steele
Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney signed an executive order Thursday creating a fund for people whose homes were affected by recent storms.

State officials say more than 400 homes were damaged by the tornadoes, flooding and strong winds associated with Tropical Storm Isaias and a second Wilmington area storm earlier this month.

Homes and public property in all three Delaware counties sustained damage. And state officials say the impact statewide is greater than that caused Hurricane Sandy in 2012—though the total amount is still being assessed.

The order will reallocate funds from the state Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to create a resilience fund for people whose homeowner’s insurance does not cover the damage caused by the storm.

State Sen. Stephanie Hansen says nine communities in her Middletown district were affected by Isaias.

“Not just with home damage, dwelling damage but with trees as well,” said Hansen. “A lot of homes were missing roofs. They were missing rooms - rooms had been blown out of the house. A lot of misplaced residents and a lot of tree damage.”  

Hansen adds many homeowners were unaware they were not covered for wind damage.

Carney says a similar resilience fund was proposed for the 2021 budget in response to a Sussex County tornado that touched down last spring, but the fund was ultimately not approved due to revenue loss associated with COVID-19 pandemic.

The order also addresses what DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan notes was significant damage to public infrastructure.

“We had some significant damage to roadways—some major roadways and some are still closed,” Cohen said. “We had sinkholes, we had major flooding; a lot of debris, a lot of trees down—especially in the northern part of our state. When some of those older trees come down, they’re taking out infrastructure when they go.”  

Under the order, Cohen is to coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget to assess and allocate funding towards road repairs. She says her agency has already spent more than $1 million in cleanup efforts.

Officials say Delaware will seek federal aid for storm recovery as well.

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