New funding supports more affordable housing ownership in Sussex County


SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. – “I call it a good partnership. A good partnership means one that’s going to make a difference in people lives, in families lives,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper said.

That partnership will provide home buyer’s assistance with the help of American Rescue Plan Act dollars, establishing the Sussex County Housing Trust Fund.

The effort was made possible thanks to the Sussex County Community Development & Housing Department and several local agencies. “In this market particularly, it’s really difficult for lower income households to be competitive. So these additional funds up to $30,000 are an attempt at trying to help them have a competitive edge in the market,” Sussex Co. Community Development & Housing Director Brandy Nauman said.

“After that, they’re on their own but not entirely because we’re going to provide some training through our non-profits. They’ll help homeowners learn how to take care of that house so they won’t end up in a mess a few years down the line,” Sen. Carper said.

Those funds can be used for down payments and closing costs for new constructions or existing properties.

Yet, county personnel say the biggest challenge will be finding available supply. “What we’re hearing all the time is that people are getting beat out from cash offers from investors which are taking hold of the market, especially in Sussex County where we have this resort community and it’s very appealing,” Nauman said.

NCALL is one the non-profits providing assistance in the program helping families with housing counseling, financial literacy, and more.

On top of the shrinking availability, Consumer Services Director Denise Freeman says its also tough for buyers to be competitive in a markets that consistently changing. “Now they’re calling because they’re being displaced because their lease is up or because their rent is doubling or tripling and they can’t afford it,” Freeman said.

Despite these challenges, Freeman says buyers are setting themselves up for success. “They’re seeking assistance to increase their credit scores, reduce their debt, or increase their savings. These are all important factors when it comes to being mortgage ready.”

NCALL also provides Stand By Me financial literacy training as experts say that knowledge is key to a successful process.

To date, 3 closings have been finalized thanks to the trust fund with 9 more are in the works.

That program isn’t limited to first-time home buyers and funding is expected to be available until December 2024.

To find out if you qualify, click here 

To find out more about NCALL, click here

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