DSHA releases draft plan for next five years of housing needs

Looking for a snapshot of what Delaware housing market will look like over the next five years? You can find one inside the Delaware Housing Needs Assessment, 2015-2020, part of the proposed Delaware State Housing Authority Consolidated Plan.

The Consolidated Plan, issued every five years, describes strategies for the investment of HUD Community Development Programs funds, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) programs.

How those strategies are developed comes from the Housing Needs Assessment, which was released last September. Among its findings:

  • Almost half of all renters and one-third of all homeowners have housing challenges, defined as paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs, or living in overcrowded or substandard living conditions. The greatest number of households with challenges are among non-elderly individuals (people living alone or among roommates) and small families.
  • Projected housing demand over the next five years is greatest in New Castle County, comprising more than half of all demand for new units through 2020.
  • Much of the state’s rental housing stock is aging, and may be at risk of becoming substandard or losing affordability as demand exceeds supply. This is a significant issue among Delaware’s subsidized rental housing stock, where more than 3,000 subsidized units are over 25 years old and have not been substantially renovated. (With a constantly aging stock and scarce resources for new construction, the need to preserve affordable rental housing will continue.)
  • Delaware has an estimated 18,000+ substandard housing units, defined as vacant and abandoned; homes that are occupied but are in unlivable conditions; and homes that are occupied and in disrepair. Substandard homes in urban areas are mostly concentrated within high poverty, high minority census tracts in Wilmington.
  • Government does not have adequate financial resources to address all housing issues. Therefore, development that leverages public funds with private investment will increase the number of affordable units available. Most subsidized housing programs now have the versatility to adopt this approach, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, redevelopment of public housing, and the use of vouchers to increase operating revenue for private development.

Based on those findings (and others), the Consolidated Plan identified seven priority needs and goals:

  • Homebuyer Assistance: Affordable mortgage financing, down payment and settlement assistance, and support for homeownership counseling to prospective homebuyers
  • Affordable rental housing: Create and preserve affordable rental housing.
  • Homeowner Rehabilitation: Substantial and emergency repairs for low-income homeowners to improve the housing stock.
  • Homeless Assistance: Prevention, shelter and rapid re-housing services in support of the state’s homeless assistance system’s goals to reduce the incidence, duration and recurrence of homelessness.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing: Rental assistance and supportive services for special populations to remain stably housed in the community.
  • Foreclosure Prevention and Recovery: Assistance for households in default or at risk of default with foreclosure prevention counseling, financial assistance, and post-resolution counseling. Assist communities to recover with neighborhood stabilization- and revitalization-oriented housing development activities.
  • Non-housing Community Development: Make resources available to address needs in Delaware’s non-entitlement jurisdictions for non-housing community development activities, including demolition, water and sewer hookups, infrastructure activities, and code enforcement.

Among the resources identified to address these priority needs are Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Housing Development Fund (state housing trust fund), DSHA homebuyer assistance programs and more.

The public comment period for the draft of the FY2015-2019 Consolidated Plan is now underway and continues through May 8, 2015.

Public hearings on the plan will be held:

Friday, April 24, 2015 – 2 p.m.

Dover Public Library
35 Loockerman Plaza
Dover, DE 19901

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – 6 p.m.

Dover Public Library
35 Loockerman Plaza
Dover, DE 19901

Thursday, April 30, 2015 – 10 a.m.

Bear Library
101 Governor’s Place
Bear, DE 19701

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