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New Castle County votes 'yes' on over $5 million in affordable housing projects

Delaware Public Media

New Castle County Council unanimously approved over $5 million for various affordable housing projects in Wilmington Tuesday night.

Habitat for Humanity will receive $200,000, the Ministry of Caring $150,000, and Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy $500,000 to assist with affordable housing development. Council also voted to give $3 million to developer Setting Properties Inc. and $1,352,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Sponsor of the resolutions Councilmember Penrose Hollins says many of these projects are in the City of Wilmington, and there’s a reason for that.

“I'm trying to get Wilmington to be more creative in creating homeownership programs that are not dependent on federal dollars," Hollins says. "So the way I started in New Castle County because I recognized that we weren't getting enough federal dollars to take care of the need. That's why I created inclusionary zoning. That's why I created a Housing Trust Fund.”

Hollins adds Wilmington is behind the eight ball without these efforts and things like down payment settlement help.

“In order to have a mix of housing, sometimes what you have to do is to give people a helping hand to make certain that they can become homeowners,” he says.

Hollins says homeownership is the key to growing the middle class, but there is a shortage of affordable housing nationwide. He adds housing opportunities for everyone can stabilize communities.

He says there are groups in every population that typically have additional challenges when it comes to finding affordable housing.

“Sometimes it has to do with your physical ability, your mental ability or your race," Hollins says. "All of these groups deserve to have special attention because of the burden that society places on them. So it's our goal to make certain that everyone within our jurisdiction, to the extent that we can, has an opportunity for food and shelter.”

Affordability in this case means that what an individual spends on housing should be less than one-third of their income.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.