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Politics & Government

New landlord incentive could drive affordable housing rates in upscale areas

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State housing officials are looking to tempt landlords into renting to tenants enrolled in rental assistance programs in some of Delaware’s higher cost zip codes.

Delaware State Housing Authority will pay landlords up to 10 percent more in these areas under the State Rental Assistance Program and the federal Housing Choice Voucher program in Kent and Sussex Counties.

An arc of included zip codes stretch from Newark to Claymont along the 12-mile Circle. North Wilmington, Middletown, an area near Dover Air Force Base and the beach region are also part of the change.

Find an interactive map of the changes here

DSHA director Anas Ben Addi says these zip codes typically have high quality schools and are close to higher paying jobs.

“We are not telling them where to live, but we are giving them the option to move to areas that will present them with better opportunities in terms of jobs, in terms of education, in terms of stability,” Ben Addi said.

In the past, DSHA has focused on expanding the stock of affordable housing throughout Delaware. Now, Ben Addi says, they're also focused on fully meshing the program with all areas of the state.

“We are shifting more from impacting the supply to more impacting the demand by allowing the tenants – the voucher holders – to make those decisions and not worry about having a place where they can use that voucher,” he said.

Ben Addi says his agency has already budgeted for the potential increase in rates and it won’t affect the amount of people that can enroll.

When asked about potential backlash among homeowners or neighborhood associations, he said it shouldn't be an issue, as it's a matter between landlords and their tenants.

"Everybody, it doesn't matter where their income is coming from, they should live wherever they want."