Federal funds help light up Delaware towns to fight crime

(AndreGofre/BigStock)

(AndreGofre/BigStock)

An effort to help Delaware towns improve lighting as a way to fight crime is getting a $2.5 million boost in funding from the American Rescue Plan.

Gov. John Carney announced the extension of ARPA money to fund the HELP initiative and the state’s Energize Delaware program in Seaford Tuesday.

The program will help train workers to install lighting and other improvements, functioning as a jobs program in addition to improving public safety.

“When you think about the important components of this program, training people up to be able to take the jobs of the future is so incredibly important,” Carney said.

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The initiative’s major focus is to enhance the lighting in low-income neighborhoods and improve public safety in high-crime areas.

In addition to standard lighting, the program will provide solar-powered motion lights and LED lights on the front and back of the houses. It will also help consumers learn how to reduce their energy use and install doorbell surveillance for public safety.

“With the money that we’re getting from the ARPA grant, we can expand the public safety in those neighborhoods by putting in video doorbells that help law enforcement to be able to gather information from crimes that may have been committed in their neighborhood from the video doorbells,” said Harold Stafford, president of the board of directors and government relations director for the HELP Initiative.

As a result of the ARPA funds, HELP will also be able to offer health home inspections and eliminate any risks that force people to visit emergency rooms. Additionally, this funding enables employment training and collaboration with adult vocational education institutions across the state to begin putting individuals through apprenticeship training that results in registered apprenticeship.

Susan White, the owner of Sussex Environmental, collaborated with the HELP project to offer indoor air quality evaluations of healthy homes through the Better Breathers Group. She’s seen several low-income communities that require the assistance this funding will provide.

“There are at least two or three right now that are just living in horrendous conditions. I mean, horrendous. No air conditioning. One has no plumbing. There’s a porta potty outside their house. It’s absolutely needed,” she said.

Downtown Dover, Milford, Seaford, and parts of Wilmington have already benefited from HELP assistance. Harrington, Greenwood, Ellendale, and Oakmont are on deck next.

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