Gov. John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi announced a new program March 26 to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
The Delaware Housing Assistance Program will provide eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company. To apply, go to www.destatehousing.com or www.de.gov/coronavirus.
“From restaurant workers and small business owners to hair stylists and barbers, we know many Delawareans are facing a very challenging time as they struggle with the economic effects of the public health emergency,” said Carney. “We hope this assistance program will give Delaware families, especially our most vulnerable neighbors, some peace of mind as this situation continues to evolve.”
Earlier, Carney issued a sixth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, preventing landlords from evicting Delawareans from their homes during the COVID-19 crisis. Under the order, landlords also cannot charge late fees or interest during a State of Emergency.
“By pausing evictions, Gov. Carney has taken the necessary steps to keep Delawareans in their homes, but we know that after the crisis, many of our neighbors will continue to face financial challenges,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “This rental relief program is designed to help our neighbors in need now to prevent a wave of evictions in the coming months.”
The state housing authority provided $2 million in funding for the program. Several community partners will assist the authority in processing applications through the program, including Catholic Charities, First State Community Action Agency and the Sussex County Community Resource Center.
To be eligible, applicants must reside in Delaware and have a maximum household income at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income for the county in which they reside. In Sussex County, 80 percent of the Area Medium Income is: 1 person, $40,400; 2 persons, $46,200; 3 persons, $51,950; 4 persons, $62,350.
The applicant must also provide documentation showing an impact on their employment or income beginning March 10, 2020, or later that is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes such instances as a layoff, reduced work hours or needing to take unpaid leave due to childcare or other issues arising as a result of the health crisis.