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In the News

December 2022
In the News

Repairing substandard housing critical for public health

According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Delaware’s Joseph R. Biden School of Public Policy & Administration, the impact of substandard housing on health and the need for critical home repairs in low-income, owner-occupied homes in Delaware is clear. Delaware’s Habitat for Humanity affiliates collaborated for a joint press conference to announce findings from a new statewide needs assessment for repairs to low-income owner-occupied housing in Delaware. The research was funded by a Delaware Community Foundation grant.

Studies reveal that individual hardships among low-income homeowners tend to be concentrated geographically in declining or distressed areas. This means low-income residential areas with elevated levels of homeownership are likely to contain many households that would benefit from assistance with home repairs, and such assistance would benefit not only individual households, but also uplift the quality of entire neighborhoods and communities. To read the full study, go to sussexcountyhabitat.org.

[read the full Cape Gazette article]

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December 2022
In the News

Does homeownership seem out of reach? Help is available for low income Delaware residents.

Buying a home in Delaware seems out of reach for many residents.

With rents skyrocketing, finding an affordable place to live in the communities many have long called home seems more challenging than ever.

Pandemic financial woes combined with a hot real estate market fueled by a steady flow of newcomers compound Delaware’s housing affordability crisis. Many people simply do not make enough money to afford adequate housing in Delaware.

How much is enough money? The federal Housing and Urban Development agency says you should not be spending more than 30% of your income on housing costs and utilities.

Statewide, annual household incomes range from about $45,000 to $66,000 depending on your race and ethnicity, according to a JPMorgan Chase and Prosperity Now report.

[read the full Delaware Online article]

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December 2022
In the News

New Castle County votes ‘yes’ on over $5 million in affordable housing projects

New Castle County Council unanimously approved over $5 million for various affordable housing projects in Wilmington Tuesday night.

Habitat for Humanity will receive $200,000, the Ministry of Caring $150,000, and Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy $500,000 to assist with affordable housing development. Council also voted to give $3 million to developer Setting Properties Inc. and $1,352,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Sponsor of the resolutions Councilmember Penrose Hollins says many of these projects are in the City of Wilmington, and there’s a reason for that.

“I’m trying to get Wilmington to be more creative in creating homeownership programs that are not dependent on federal dollars,” Hollins says. “So the way I started in New Castle County because I recognized that we weren’t getting enough federal dollars to take care of the need. That’s why I created inclusionary zoning. That’s why I created a Housing Trust Fund.”

[read the full Delaware Public Media article]

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December 2022
In the News

Wells Fargo Donates $35,000 to Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County to Build and Repair Affordable Homes

Funding supports neighborhood revitalization on the Eastside of Wilmington

WILMINGTON, DE – November 30, 2022– Through the Wells Fargo Builds program, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) received a $35,000 grant to support low-income families by building affordable homes, providing critical repairs to preserve homeownership and organizing neighborhood revitalization projects. HFHNCC is one of more than 230 Habitat for Humanity affiliates awarded a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation as part of its nationwide initiative to help create more than 350 affordable homes across the U.S.

This month, Wells Fargo employees volunteered on the Eastside of Wilmington to clean up area parks and parking lots and installed: 31 smoke detectors, 33 ring doorbells, 32 motion detector lights, and 36 flower boxes.

“As homeownership remains out of reach for too many families, we’re proud of our long-standing work with Habitat for Humanity – both here in New Castle and nationally – to increase the supply of affordable homes,” said Stephen Briggs, Vice President of Community Relations for Wells Fargo. “Volunteering with Habitat has always been a huge source of pride for our employees, and we’re excited to put on our hard hats to help families start a new journey in their lives as homeowners – a key part to building intergenerational wealth.”

[read the full Wells Fargo press release]

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December 2022
In the News

Bank of America Names Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County and TeenSHARP 2022 Neighborhood Builders®

Program Provides $200,000 in Flexible Funding to Each Organization and Leadership Development Training to Advance Economic Mobility in Delaware

Wilmington, DE – Programs and services addressing Delaware workforce development and economic mobility are helping more people chart a path toward economic opportunity with the help from a multi-year grant from Bank of America. Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) and TeenSHARP have been named as the 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the Delaware community removing economic barriers and advancing economic opportunity.

Each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years, comprehensive leadership training for the executive director, and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management, and strategic storytelling. Awardees also join a network of peer organizations across the U.S. and get the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment in nonprofit leadership development.

Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County is committed to changing lives and landscapes by revitalizing neighborhoods and empowering the families they serve. The organization, best known for providing zero percent interest mortgages for hard-working low-income, first-time homebuyers, empowers New Castle County residents to improve their communities, creates affordable and sustainable homeownership, and reduces the cost of homes. They will use the grant funding to support programs that address the critical need for affordable housing in New Castle County and support their overall day-to-day operations.

[read the full Bank of America press release]

 

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December 2022
In the News

Home repair issues add to difficulties keeping low-income owners, senior citizens in their homes

Substandard housing and repair costs have a clear link to housing affordability – and health – according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Delaware

The Delaware Community Foundation funded the study on behalf of Habitat for Humanity in all three Delaware counties. New Castle County Habitat for Humanity CEO Kevin Smith said identifying and fixing a variety of repairs can help people of lower incomes as well as senior citizens stay in their homes and avoid having to find other, more costly housing or going to the rental market.

“It’s more effective to provide repair services and keep somebody in their home than necessarily to build a new house. We’re still doing that, but we want to try to find all the different partners who link up with health and energy efficiency and resiliency to provide these repairs,” Smith said.

Smith and other Habitat leaders hope to utilize these findings to demonstrate the need for more funding for these and other home repair programs. The study also examined various socio-economic factors that create housing affordability challenges and made a series of recommendations.

[read the full WDEL article]

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December 2022
In the News

Habitat For Humanity expanding services as Del. home repair needs increase

DOVER, Del. – Delaware’s Habitat For Humanity (H4H) organizations say the demand for repairs on homes owned by low-income people is exploding. Now, armed with new data, H4H says they’re planning to expand services to keep up with the demand.

The Hudsons

“He’s a double amputee, and this ramp couldn’t have come at a better time. We didn’t know how we were going to be able to afford it. And, we didn’t think that we were going to get accepted because we’re both retired,” said Dover resident, Vanessa Hudson.

Hudson is talking about her husband, Anthony, who relies on a wheelchair to get around. But after moving to Dover in 2020, it quickly became clear that their home wasn’t wheelchair accessible.

That changed when Hudson was shopping at a local H4H ReStore location. She says she noticed a brochure advertising H4H’s home repair assistance programs, and decided to apply. “You never know if you don’t try, if you don’t go for it, and put the effort in to see. If you don’t knock on the door, nobody knows you’re there,” said Hudson.

Now, a ramp built by H4H leads directly to the family’s front door. “It’s a very sturdy ramp. I’m able to wheel him up and down in the wheelchair with no problem. The workers were good, and I’m just so thankful for Habitat For Humanity,” said Hudson.

[read the full WMDT47 article]

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December 2022
In the News

Delaware Habitat For Humanity’s Partnering To Be Able To Do More Home Repairs

DELAWARE– Cassandra Asher of Laurel says her home used to be riddled with problems.

“There was gaps all in the window, all in the door so I had to put insulation and things like that around the outside,” Asher said.  Sussex County Habitat For Humanity repaired two windows and a door for her.

“This window had plastic on it in the winter time so and it was very drafty,” Asher said. “I had a difficult time opening it.”

On Wednesday, employees from New Castle, Kent, and Sussex announced plans to mold together an expanded and refined statewide home repair program.

“In recent years, we realized that the most affordable house is the one that someone already lives in.,” CEO of Sussex County Habitat For Humanity Kevin Gilmore said. “And with a small investment we can keep people in their houses, still building new houses as we need to. But there’s a lot of people who just need some improvements living in their house or to make their house more healthy.”

According to a study done by the University Of Delaware, two-thirds of manufactured homes in Delaware are in Sussex County. Sussex County also has the highest number of low income households and homeowners.

Neighborhood Revitalization Manager Michael D’Ovidio says the need for home repairs is always growing.

“We can do roofs, we’re doing a lot of flooring, a lot of doors and windows,” D’Ovidio said. “It helps also with energy savings. So a lot of focus on that as well.”

The impact of the current home repair program is many stories high. Cassie was left unable to work after suffering a stroke and three brain aneurysms. She says Habitat was the hand-up she needed.

[read the full WRDE article]

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December 2022
In the News

Habitat for Humanity affiliates and UD release study on Delaware’s housing repair needs

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Delaware for Delaware’s three Habitat for Humanity branches underscored the role of housing repair in addressing the state’s escalating affordable housing shortage.

The research team’s statewide survey reached an estimate of 25,000 owner-occupied homes in need of repair. Of those, roughly 5,000 could be considered substandard, meaning they are in severe need of repairs and could risk becoming uninhabitable. The types of repairs needed range from mold remediation to rebuilding foundations; in New Castle County, many of the homes in need of repair are found in older Wilmington neighborhoods, while in Kent and Sussex County, repair needs are greatest in manufactured home communities.

The researchers note that deferring maintenance on homes until they become uninhabitable only deepens the state’s affordable housing crisis, potentially leaving low-income homeowners – many of them seniors – homeless.

Research lead and UD Biden School of Public Policy and Administration associate professor Steve Metraux says essential repairs for those homes could cost nearly $100 million – an exponentially larger figure than the amount of funding currently available in Delaware to support housing repair.

[read the full Delaware Public Media article]

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