Sussex County Organizations Collaborate Against Housing Crisis With ARP Funds | New

GEORGETOWNDel.- Kimmeytown will be the site of several new homes to be built by Sussex County Habitat For Humanity.

“This vacant lot that we are currently on will ultimately be five new homes that will be sold at an affordable price to families in need as well as the rehabilitation of a home that is already on the property and repair it as affordable and fair to across the street three more new homes as well,” said CEO Kevin Gilmore.

Habitat received $3 million from the US bailout that will be used for materials and other construction costs in the Kimmeytown neighborhood.

According to Housing Alliance Delaware, anyone making the minimum wage of $10.50 must work 71 hours a week to afford an average one-bedroom apartment. Twenty-six thousand households can only afford $726 or less in rent per month.

First State Community Action Agency executive director Bernice Edwards says working with people in need of housing is a long process.

“The people we work with take longer than six or nine months to find them a home, so you have to work with them for the long term, so once we get people to the point where they can get a home, we we’ll refer them to Habitat,” Edwards said. “We’ll refer them to first-time home buyers.”

Springboard Collaborative is working to put a pallet village right behind the First State Community Action Agency to help people who are currently homeless.

Project leader Trish Hill says people stuck in tents in the woods are looking for a better, more sustainable home and the shelter village will be a temporary place to get there.

“They, you know, struggled to find housing even at a time when there was no housing crisis,” Hill said. “A lot of them have been homeless for ten, you know, fifteen years. It’s a transition opportunity.”

Judson Malone says the economy has dealt a blow to people trying to find a home they can call their own, but is cautiously optimistic locally.

“It became a real crisis,” Malone said. “Rent rates are going up and to compound all of that, with the pandemic and supply chain disruption, building materials have gone up, so you know this is a very serious situation. Slowly I think the county and state are starting to pour money into programs that will help alleviate it.The big question is whether this is enough.

Habitat For Humanity says these homes should be ready in two years, while Springboard Collaborative says the pallet village should be up and running by the end of October.

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