Sussex County will provide affordable home loans. Are you eligible?
Sussex County elected officials have recognized that one of the county’s most daunting challenges is providing affordable housing. People who work in these communities, they say, should be able to live here too.
Now, the state’s fastest-growing county is set to launch a new program that aims to support both people looking for homes and developers looking for incentives to build options. more affordable.
On Friday, the county’s Office of Community Development and Housing will begin accepting applications for its housing trust fund program.
The program, which is primarily funded by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, has two components: one-time repayable loans that individuals can use for something like a down payment on a home, as well as grant opportunities for developers. working to increase the amount of affordable housing options in the county.
Assistance to buyers
Individual applicants must meet income requirements to qualify. In this program, they can earn up to 120% of the region’s median income, but the focus will be on those earning less than 65%.
The median household income in Sussex County between 2016 and 2020 was $64,905, according to the US Census Bureau.
Once qualified, applicants can receive loans ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 to purchase affordable housing. The loans will be pro-rated with zero percent interest and canceled after 10 years of ownership, according to the Sussex County news release.
This expands opportunities for potential landlords or tenants, as applicants previously had to earn 80% or less of the region’s median income and could only receive a maximum assistance of $10,000.
The county will begin accepting individual applicants beginning Friday and will continue on an ongoing basis as funding becomes available.
Developers or other groups like non-profits can apply for grants of up to $50,000 for each affordable housing unit built, whether as rental or owner-occupied housing. The county has set a maximum of $500,000 per project.
Units must be marketed to individuals and households that meet the income eligibility criteria as defined under the Housing Trust Fund program.
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Development grant applications will be accepted in a series of cycles, with the first scheduled to run between April 1 and April 29.
Affordable housing as a priority
Sussex County Finance Director Gina Jennings previously outlined these new programs during a March 8 presentation on how the county planned to use the ARPA funding. The housing trust fund will be funded by $6.8 million, with the bulk coming from ARPA and the remaining $500,000 from the Sussex County budget.
County Council Chairman Michael H. Vincent said affordable housing was a priority for the public and the council, particularly in Sussex County, where he said there was a booming real estate market.
The county identified affordable housing as a priority for the next 25 to 30 years in its 2018 comprehensive plan.
“We all have to live somewhere, and every community needs affordable housing options,” he said. “Hopefully this program will provide the seed capital that working families and housing advocates can use to cultivate an affordable environment that ensures people can continue to live, work and play in Sussex County for decades to come. future.”
The Housing Trust Fund comes after numerous public discussions and meetings with stakeholders, particularly housing advocates, and was among recommendations made in a 2019 housing study that examined affordability in southern Delaware, according to Brandy B. Nauman, county director of community development. & Housing Office.
“This is a tremendous milestone for Sussex County, one that I hope will have a meaningful outcome for the countless families and individuals looking for affordable, quality housing,” said Nauman. “I’m proud the county is stepping up to be a leader in helping close the affordability gap that, if left unaddressed, will only widen over time.”
Journalist Shannon Marvel McNaught contributed to this report.
Emily Lytle covers Sussex County from inland towns to beaches. Got a story she should tell? Contact her at [email protected] or 302-332-0370. Follow her on Twitter at @emily3lytle.