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Politics & Government

Infusion of funding for affordable housing coming to New Castle County

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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Officials announce the new funding for affordable housing in New Castle County at the Hope Center shelter

New Castle County will spend a significant chunk of its federal COVID relief funds on affordable housing. 

The County announced Monday that $30 million of its American Rescue Plan Act and CARES Act money will support affordable housing programs. 

For scale, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer says the County usually gets just around $900,000 in federal funding annually for its HOME Investment Partnerships Program—which funds partnerships with local nonprofits for activities such as building, buying or rehabbing affordable housing for rent or homeownership.  

The new money, which Meyer hopes will be spent through a program modelled after the HOME program, will likely go out over the course of several years. The appropriation must be approved by County Council. 

“Because it’s not HOME-restricted, we expect to receive a much broader variety of applications to do all sorts of things to make life easier for renters, for people right on the cusp of homeownership, and potentially stuff for repairs to homes that would, if not for these resources, send people into homelessness,” Meyer said. 

County and nonprofit service providers say a primary driver of homelessness in New Castle County is an ongoing shortage of affordable housing. 

“There’s a crisis in our community,” Meyer said. “There’s a crisis around the country. The idea of this funding is we incentivize some developers—nonprofit and maybe some for-profit developers— to recognize, there is a lot of opportunity in affordable housing across areas of unincorporated New Castle County— outside the cities— to address that affordability crisis.”

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) says the additional federal funding will expedite New Castle County’s processes to add new affordable housing and rental options. 

New Castle County Councilman and Community Services co-chair Penrose Hollins has long advocated for more affordable housing in the county. He says the new funding commitment is a reaffirmation of the County’s “core values.”

“Affordable housing has been the path, is the path, and will continue to be the path for working-class people to reach middle class,” he said. “It’s a critical key to neighborhood stabilization and economic equity in New Castle County.”

The state also announced Monday it plans to put $25 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funds into the REACH Riverside mixed-income housing project in Wilmington.  

 

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