Because of expected high demand, a lottery has been established for people applying for 26 affordable rental units at the new 168-unit Coastal Tide Apartments, the first project to participate in Sussex County’s affordable rental program.
The lottery will be administered by the county housing department and property managers YourPlace.rent.
Brandy Nauman, county housing coordinator and fair housing compliance officer, updated Sussex County Council on the status of the program during a Dec. 8 meeting. Linda Smith, president and owner of the property managers, represented the company.
Nauman said they anticipated being inundated with applications because of the lack of affordable rentals, especially in eastern Sussex County.
The lottery closed Jan. 22. The 26 applications will be chosen at random.
A waiting list will be established once the slots are filled.
Coastal Tide Apartments is under construction off Plantation Road and Mackenzie Way, and is expected to be completed early in 2021. The project, known originally as Arbors at Cottagedale, was first approved in 2009. It included the remediation of a brownfield on the parcel and construction of a new entrance road, Mackenzie Way.
Under the county program, developers receive 20 percent bonus density, up to 12 units per acre, and an expedited project review. A least 12.5 percent of units in a complex must be included in the county program.
Applicants must meet income guidelines, and have satisfactory credit history and criminal background checks. They must have lived or worked in the county for at least a year. Affordable units must be integrated within the complex and not be significantly different from other units.
The plan includes six one-bedroom apartments, 10 two-bedroom apartments, and 10 three-bedroom apartments. Monthly rent will be $595 for one bedroom, $715 for two bedrooms and $825 for three bedrooms for those who qualify.
Former Councilman Irwin “I.G.” Burton of Lewes said the project is a plus for the county. “We've had a contaminated site cleaned up, apartments have been built in the right place and there are affordable units,” he said. “It's a triple win that took a long time.”
• The waiting list in Kent and Sussex counties for affordable rental housing programs exceeds 5,000 residents, and the average waiting time is 18 months.
• The wage a Delaware family must earn to afford current average rent is $16.61/hour.
• In Sussex County, there are more than 3,600 at-risk renter households making less than $20,000/year.
Source: Sussex County and Delaware Housing Coalition