A federally funded housing program has been helping Delaware expand the supply of affordable housing for low-income residents since the early 1990s.
But that funding has been on the decline – and deeper cuts could be on the horizon.
It’s called the HOME Investment Partnership Program – and helps states, counties and cities renovate vacant homes and rental units, and even completely rebuild them to house low-income residents.
“These funds are desperately needed in these communities – they have great results, we’re creating home ownership and we’re leveraging funds," said Vincent Garlick, the HOME program administrator for New Castle County.
In the county, the focus has been on first-time homeowners: with 19 of 77 homes to date completed in the Dunleith community in partnership with the Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware.
Garlick says the area is one of the oldest African American communities in the state - dating back to the 1950s.
“It’s one of the oldest communities that African Americans were able to go out and buy a home – not necessarily a row home, but a single-family unit with a yard, a driveway……”
Five additional homes there are in various stages of completion. Garlick says the goal is to stabilize new homeowners by surrounding them with other homeowners, creating a high percentage of homeownership in that community.
“I guess it’s close to 70% in that community. So that’s vital to stabilizing communities," he said.
But he says it will be hard to reach their target completion of 2-3 homes each year with over $50,000 of their $668,000 budget on the federal chopping block come July.