A new statewide emergency home repair program for low-income families is being called a hand up, not a hand out.
Delaware Gov. John Carney and the Delaware State Housing Authority announced the new Statewide Emergency Response Program on Tuesday in Milford. It’s designed to help qualified homeowners keep their homes in livable condition.
“No one should live in a home with broken plumbing or a leaking roof. We can help our families in need by making their homes safe and healthy, which also strengthens our communities,” said Governor John Carney, D-Delaware.
The Milford Housing Development Corporation was awarded $600,000 by DSHA to manage the program statewide and serve as the single point of contact for repair requests in all three counties.
“Repairing roofs, fixing heating systems and solving accessibility issues are simple jobs that can be out of the reach of many people due to financial circumstances,” DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi said. “We’re pleased to be able to help with that by partnering with the Milford Housing Development Corporation and its statewide network of nonprofits and agencies that is helping reach people in need.”
“It’s making it easier on the resident. They’re getting access to a lot more programs with one phone call,” said Susan Eliason, director of development at DSHA. Eliason clarified that either Milford will handle the fix or forward the repair to another nonprofit.
“So that the homeowner doesn’t have to first call Milford and to be told, ‘Well if your heater is broken, call First State Community Action, they have a heater program, and then First State gets out there and it’s like, ‘Well, we’re not going to fix your heater till your windows get fixed, so here, call Catholic Charities, they have weatherization money,'” Eliason explained.
Eliason said that’s how the state used to handle emergency repairs, but that way of doing business often left homeowners feeling discouraged and upset.
“Public-private partnerships like this help leverage our resources to assist as many people as possible,” Carney added.
Qualified applicants must own their home and have lived there for at least one year, and must meet income guidelines.
Situations that qualify include immediate health or safety threats like heating, plumbing, electrical repairs and leaking or damaged roofs. A portion of the funding will also go toward assisting residents of manufactured housing or mobile homes.
“We have been involved in emergency repairs for more than two decades, and know how important it is to make sure homes are kept in good condition,” said David Moore, president and CEO of the Milford Housing Development Corporation. “Our goal is to help as many people as possible with true emergencies that threaten residents’ health or safety.”
Homeowners can apply to the Milford Housing Development Corporation at 302-491-4010 or toll-free at 844-413-0038. Staff will work with applicants to determine if they qualify.