Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn announced a series of programs to give financial aid to cities and towns thanks to $36-million in settlement money.
Denn was joined by Gov. Jack Markell and a number of legislators at the Carvel State Building in Wilmington to discuss how the state will pass out the funds.
Some major financial settlements such as the National Mortgage Settlement and others between the nation’s attorneys general and the country’s largest banks resulted in the money.
“36-million dollars is a lot of money which gives us the opportunity to do some things to heal our state and its people which we needed to do for years but haven’t been able to afford,” Denn said.
According to Denn, the best way to repair Delaware communities is to invest in some much needed programs that deal with the underlining causes of violent crimes.
“Our proposal to lift up Delaware’s communities has two related goals. First to help Delawareans to overcome the impact of the worse recession in 75 years on their lives and communities and second in doing so to reduce our state ‘s unacceptable rate on violent crime,” said Denn who outlined three parts to his proposal.
The multi-faceted proposal will first invest $16 million in people and neighborhoods which includes strengthening programs that provide treatment for those with substance abuse disorders, prison re-entry programs as well as after-school and summer programs. Money will also go to community policing and community support.
Another part of the plan will provide help to high-poverty schools. The goal is to invest $5-million in adding teachers and paraprofessional for 16 elementary schools over a period of three years.
“We know that investing in people has to start when they are young and we know that some of students at high-poverty students come to school with challenges that their schools are hard pressed to address with existing staff,” Denn said.
The following schools in all three counties are listed below:• Brittingham elementary• East Dover Elementary• Towne Point Elementary• Bancroft Elementary• Elbert Palmer Elementary• Pulaski Elementary• Stubbs Elementary• Eisenberg Elementary• Colwyck elementary• Dunbar Elementary• Highlands Elementary• Lewis Dual Language Elementary• Richardson Park Elementary• Shortlidge Elementary• Warner Elementary• West Seaford Elementary
Gov. Markell who helped with the plan discussed the third part of the proposal. The final portion of the proposal deals with affordable housing and development in economically impacted areas.
“So we all know that strong vibrant neighborhoods and communities need many things to thrive and starts with housing. People need safe, affordable and well built homes in which to raise families,” Markell said.
The goal is to replace abandoned or vacant housing that ultimately improves public safety, creating a stronger tax base for Delaware cities and schools added Markell.
“Stronger housing we believe is the cornerstone to any revitalization strategy,” Markell said.
To implement the state’s housing goals; about $16-million will go into foreclosure prevention programs, the Delaware State Housing Authority’s Strong Neighborhoods Revolve Housing Fund and Downtown Development Districts Program.
Next month, officials will seek approval from the Joint Finance Committee regarding the use of the money.