Several formerly stalled Wilmington Housing Partnership projects on the city’s East Side may move forward in the hands of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.
The nonprofit will soon begin construction of five affordable homes on Bennett Street in Wilmington. Four prospective homeowners have already been approved for the project known as Amala’s Way.
Across the street from the project are seven Wilmington Housing Partnership (WHP) units where construction began in 2015, but has stalled since last year. City of Wilmington officials say the Partnership is working to transfer those properties to Habitat for Humanity, which will complete their development.
“The Wilmington [Housing] Partnership board in September voted to convey these seven homes right here— which are not completed— to Habitat for Humanity,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday. “Because we know that they will be the single most responsible stewards of these assets, and turn them into something that this community is going to be really proud of.”
Fourth District Councilwoman Michelle Harlee is happy to see the projects advancing. “I am uber excited about how it is allowing this community here on the East Side not only for every child and family to feel secure and to feel safe, but for us to have community pride,” she said.
The City of Wilmington took control of the public-private Wilmington Housing Partnership this year after a City audit revealed misuse of financial assistance from the City, hundreds of thousands of dollars in accounting records errors and a “weakened financial condition.”
The seven Bennett Street units are listed as WHP’s second most valuable asset on a repayment agreement signed with the City in October for its $3.4 million loan to the Partnership. Spokesman for the Mayor’s Office John Rago says the properties will be transferred to Habitat for a nominal fee.
City and Housing Partnership officials declined to comment on whether the transfer of the properties will affect WHP’s ability to pay back this and other debts.