A new rent-to-own home ownership program is getting underway in New Castle County – a new venture for Habitat for Humanity.
The program was introduced Tuesday outside a building on Lamotte Street in Wilmington owned by Habitat. Currently it’s boarded up, but maybe not for long.
According to Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County CEO Kevin Smith, the organization has shied away from rental properties for decades. The focus has been home ownership. But in Delaware, a state where one organization says there is a shortage of 21,000 affordable housing units, a new approach was needed.
“When we select families who applied and who basically need an affordable rent for a period of time, a year or two, to work on their credit and then they can get into our home ownership program,” Smith said.
Qualifying individuals and families may be able to pay lower rent than the prevailing average in Delaware – about $700 a month compared to $1,200 – $1,500 – as they try to set themselves on a course toward owning a home.
Funding comes from New Castle County and JPMorgan Chase.
“As part of JPMorgan Chase’s strategy to equitable and inclusive economies, we support organizations like Habitat for Humanity that advance innovative housing models like the one we’re talking about today that can be successfully scaled not just throughout the state but throughout the country,” JPMC Northeast Division Managing Director of Community and Business Development Jason Patton said. Patton is also vice president of the board of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.
“I think what families are really asking for is a pathway. They just want to know there’s some hope that they can move forward in their lives,” Smith said. “That’s really what this program is about: here’s an interim step so you can get that home ownership step.”
[read the full WDEL article here]