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Sussex County Housing Trust Fund starts in 2022

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

Some Sussex County homebuyers can start receiving financial assistance with closing and settlement costs, as the County’s new housing trust fund program gets underway.

The Housing Trust Fund Initiative seeks to promote affordable housing for lower-income households in Sussex County.

It was tabled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the Sussex County Council is reviving it as a pilot program in 2022.

The county’s director of community development and housing Brandy Nauman says the Council funded the project in the fiscal year 2022 budget.

“As part of the FY2022 budget, the Sussex County Council approved $500,000 to create a Housing Trust Fund," Nauman said. "We proposed to split that into two components - one arm would be a development loan fund of $400,000 and the other would be a direct homebuyer assistance (arm) with $100,000.”  

Nauman told the Council last month that project stakeholders raised concerns regarding the $100,000 per project cap not being sufficient - especially for multi-million-dollar projects.

The Council will also look at a suggestion to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to allow higher loan amounts.

Nauman says the development loans are designed to assist qualifying nonprofit affordable-housing providers and developers to create affordable housing and various ventures related to affordable housing.

That includes initiatives to address homelessness, tax credit properties, preservation and rehabilitation - as long as they meet specific criteria outlined in the application process.

The five-year loans will be interest free and borrowers can defer payment up to one year. The money can be used for site improvements, engineering and architectural costs.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.