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Karen's Plan: Community Development & Affordable Housing

 

As your candidate for New Castle County Executive, my extensive experience as President of New Castle County Council has allowed me to champion affordable housing and community development initiatives. Over the past eight years, I have supported, advocated for, and sponsored critical legislation to address housing needs. Key programs include the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Workforce Housing Program, Emergency Rental Assistance Program, NCC Housing Everyone Locator Program (HELP), Home Repair Programs, Community Development Block Grants, and Down Payment and Settlement Assistance Programs. Additionally, the Affordable Housing Fund, bolstered by a $30 million appropriation, is dedicated to creating and preserving affordable housing. My unwavering commitment to these issues will continue to drive my efforts as your next County Executive, ensuring the quality of life for all residents. Experience matters, and my track record demonstrates a deep dedication to impactful housing initiatives in New Castle County.

Community Development & Affordable Housing In New Castle County

 

As your candidate for New Castle County Executive, my commitment to community development and affordable housing is rooted in my extensive experience as President of New Castle County Council for the past eight years. During my tenure, I have supported, advocated for, and sponsored legislation to address the critical housing needs of our residents.

New Castle County offers a variety of programs and services designed to enhance affordable housing options and foster community development.

 

Key initiatives include:

Housing Choice
Voucher Program

This federally funded rental assistance program helps very low-income families, the elderly, and disabled individuals afford safe and sanitary housing in the private market.

Workforce Housing Program

Designed for middle-income households, this initiative provides opportunities to purchase or rent affordable new construction housing units, bridging the gap for those who do not qualify for traditional affordable housing programs but still need financial assistance.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

ERAP offers help with past due rent, security deposits, and moving aid for families facing financial hardships, particularly those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCC Housing Everyone Locator Program (HELP)

Based on the "Housing First" model, this program prioritizes stable, permanent housing as a foundation for individuals and families to recover and thrive. It connects homeless families and Housing Choice Voucher recipients with affordable housing options through a comprehensive network of social services.

Home Repair Programs

These programs assist homeowners with essential repairs, ensuring safe and healthy living conditions. Services include lead and healthy home programs, accessibility modifications, and general home maintenance.

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, CDBG funds support various community development activities, including affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, and public services.

Down Payment and Settlement Assistance Programs

These programs help low and moderate-income households cover the costs associated with purchasing a home, such as down payments and settlement charges. This support is crucial for making homeownership more accessible to more residents.

Affordable Housing Fund

Recently, the New Castle County Council approved a $30 million appropriation to establish this fund, which is dedicated to creating and preserving affordable housing across the County. This funding is part of a broader effort that includes the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the New Castle County Housing Trust Fund.

Throughout my tenure, New Castle County has leveraged significant federal funding, including $30 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, to enhance our affordable housing infrastructure. This investment aims to expedite the development of new affordable housing units, providing relief to renters and potential homeowners.

Over the past eight years, I have worked tirelessly to promote these programs, ensuring they are accessible and effective in meeting the needs of our community. My commitment to affordable housing and community development is unwavering, and I will continue to champion these issues as your next County Executive.

Innovative Approaches from Other Counties 

Other counties across the country are also implementing innovative solutions to address affordable housing challenges:

Innovative Approaches from Other Counties 

Other counties across the country are also implementing innovative solutions to address affordable housing challenges:

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Cities like Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California, have successfully implemented ADU policies to increase affordable housing stock. ADUs, also known as "granny flats" or "in-law units," provide additional housing options within existing neighborhoods.

Incentives for Developers

Denver, Colorado, offers incentives such as density bonuses and expedited permitting processes without lowering standards for developers who include affordable units in their projects.

Land Trusts

Burlington, Vermont, utilizes a community land trust model to maintain affordability. This approach separates the ownership of land and housing, ensuring long-term affordability by keeping the land in trust.

Housing Bonds

In Austin, Texas, voters approved housing bonds to fund the construction and preservation of affordable housing. This strategy leverages public investment to meet housing needs.

Suburban Homes
Homeowners

These examples highlight the importance of creative and collaborative approaches to affordable housing. As your next County Executive, I will explore and implement similar innovative strategies to address the affordable housing shortage in New Castle County.

Experience matters, and my track record demonstrates a deep dedication to enhancing the quality of life for all New Castle County residents through innovative and impactful housing initiatives. On a personal note, as a mother of four children and the proud owner of two retired racing greyhounds, Apollo and Aria, I understand the importance of a stable and supportive home environment. Let’s work together to ensure everyone in New Castle County has access to affordable, quality housing.

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