Overlook Colony receives $2.7 million from New Castle County for renovations, preserving affordability
The Overlook Colony in Claymont receives $2.7 million to renovate affordable housing units.
New Castle County is contributing $400,000 from its Housing Trust Fund; the rest are federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, 36 units will have plumbing, HVAC, electrical and mechanical upgrades, along with new flooring, roofing, siding, counters and cabinets, and a fresh coat of paint.
Interfaith Community Housing owns and runs the neighborhood, and Executive Director Darlene Sample says they serve moderate to low-income communities, focusing on 50-60% of the area's median income.
And with inflation and supply chain issues, she says these renovations have been out of reach until now.
“We can’t raise the rents above a certain level so that has been a challenge for us," Sample says. "So have kind of been updating them on a per-unit basis, but with this funding it allows us to do everything all at once.”
County Councilman John Cartier says low-income tax credits on the units were expiring, so the investment will keep the units affordable with income-based criteria.
“So it’s really important, especially in this era where rents are very high, incomes are stagnant, that we have affordable rentals for people who work every day and should have a nice place to live and be able to afford it," Cartier says.
Cartier notes most people are shelling out 50 percent or more of their income on housing, and keeping existing properties up-to-date and affordable is part of addressing the housing crisis, but says the county needs to do more to create new housing stock as well.
County Executive Matt Meyer says the county is facing an affordable housing crisis and it's up to the government to step in.
“The best way to put it is, if we just let the market do what it wants to do without government involvement, there are too many families that would not be able to afford housing,” Meyer says.
Meyer says without the investment, the units currently in the $700 to $900 range could be driven up to market rate.