Governor John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi on Thursday announced a new program 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 (DE HAP) will provide eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company. Applications will be available on DSHA’s website at www.destatehousing.com or at 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 Governor John 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 this week, Governor 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, Governor 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.”
DSHA provided $2 million in funding for DE HAP, and New Castle County contributed $500,000. “During these difficult times, we need to pull all of our resources together to help those who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We know this funding may not solve all of the problems our neighbors are facing, but this program is a great step in the right direction. I am pleased that New Castle County is able to support Governor Carney and DSHA in their efforts.”
Several community partners will assist DSHA in processing applications through the program, including West End Neighborhood House, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Community Services, First State Community Action Agency, and the Sussex County Community Resource Center.
“The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. Every day, we receive numerous calls from Delawareans who are struggling to pay their rent or utility bills because of an unexpected layoff, a reduction in hours, or the closure of a business,” said West End Neighborhood House Executive Director Paul F. Calistro, Jr. “If we can help our state’s residents stay in their homes both during and after this crisis, it will benefit us all. West End is honored to partner with Governor Carney and DSHA on this worthwhile program.”
To be eligible for DE HAP, applicants must reside in Delaware and have a maximum household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which they reside. 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.
Income eligibility per county is as follows:
|80% of County Area Median Income (AMI)|
|1 person||2 person||3 person||4 person|
Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov.