Delaware announces $40 million in COVID-19 housing assistance

WILMINGTON — Citing the fears of many Delawareans challenged to make rent and mortgage payments during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, state leaders announced on Monday that $40 million in assistance is now available for those most affected.

With the relaunch of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program and through the Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program up to $5,000 of assistance can support qualified households and renters.

If applications are approved, payments due for rent or mortgages will be sent directly to landlords or servicer banks, not individuals.

The state of Delaware and New Castle County will each contribute $20 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support maintaining places of residence.

Gov. John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi unveiled the plans during a roughly 30-minute presentation live-streamed at governor.delaware.gov and Facebook Live.

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer joined the announcement, along with West End Neighborhood House Executive Director Paul Calistro, State Sen. Tizzy Lockman, and State Rep. Kendra Johnson.

According to Mr. Addi in a news release, “We know that many of our neighbors remain unemployed or underemployed and are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

“Today’s announcement builds on our efforts to prevent evictions and foreclosures resulting from the pandemic and will allow DSHA and our partners the opportunity to better assist both renters and homeowners throughout the state with their housing needs.”

Said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, “No one should be thrown out on the street due to the inability to pay their rent or mortgage during a public health emergency.”

More information on the COVID-19 rental and mortgage assistance programs is available online at destatehousing.com/covid19. Landlords and property owners can submit applications on behalf of their tenants online.

The housing assistance program had been launched in March, but a massive response brought a pause in late April, when DHSA evaluated federal funding through the CARES Act.

Housing applicants must be Delaware residents with a maximum household income at or below 60% of the area median income for the county in which they reside, according to the news release.

Gov. Carney described the programs as being “about families across our state that are living with uncertainty and fear around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our obligation as public servants is to address both their health needs as well as their economic and social needs as well. This is an important part of that.”

Rep. Lockman referred to an earlier stay on evictions and foreclosures that was lifted on July 1 as keeping roofs over people’s heads and believes the new $40 million investment in renters and homeowners will have similar effects.

“I really don’t think it is overstating it to say this effort will save lives,” she said, noting that women — many the head of households and working on the front line of pandemic response — have been particularly hard hit by the health crisis.

“We know that through these programs we’re keeping Delaware families together. We’re keeping Delaware children from being homeless, which could in turn place them at greater risk of going hungry, struggling in school, dropping out, (being at greater risk) of abuse and neglect.”

Gov. Carney described the efforts as illustrating his vision of “The Delaware Way” when “people put their egos aside at the door, they work together, Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

“They work together public sector, private sector, nonprofit sector and they do the work of the people and they address the needs of those who need our assistance the most.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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