Strong neighborhoods are built on solid foundations and residents who take pride in their community.
That’s why we’re seeing a push from Gov. Jack Markell, the general assembly and local business and civic leaders to support residents inside the city cores in Delaware, as part of the Downtown Development District designations, and why I’m very hopeful to see what good comes from the $2.755 million awarded to the four Delaware housing organizations that will receive funding through the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund of the Delaware State Housing Authority.
Organizations competed for these funds, which originated from the JPMorgan Chase Mortgage Settlement, through a competitive application process that received three times as many requests as the funding that was available. The four winning proposals came from:
- Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, $672,191
- Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Inc., $742,809
- New Castle County Department of Community Services, $500,000
- Wilmington Housing Partnership, $840,000
Funds will be used for the acquisition, renovation and sale of vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties throughout the state – with specific goals to support community development and transform neighborhoods that are experiencing blight or other forms of stress, including high crime.
“We talk a lot about teamwork and public-private partnerships,” Markell said, at the time of the awards. “The Strong Neighborhoods program is the perfect example of what we mean by that. Each Strong Neighborhoods application is a collaboration of multiple partners, with each partner bringing a unique skill to the table, whether it be counseling, construction, labor, or financing. Alone, they are worthy agencies, with proven track records. By partnering together, they will make a greater, more visible impact in our communities.”
Nonprofit leaders in both Wilmington and Dover said that the funds will allow them support developers in strategically-chosen projects that might not have gone forward otherwise, in at-risk areas.
“A lot of developers couldn’t afford to create housing in these areas without the funds,” said Steven Martin, executive director of Wilmington Housing Partnership.
I hope the program is a success and expands in coming years, the way DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi would like it to.