From the Field: Housing Alliance Delaware Releases State of Housing and Homelessness Report

Housing Alliance Delaware, an NLIHC state partner, released its annual report, The State of Housing & Homelessness in The First State, on July 2. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of Delaware’s housing environment, from homelessness to rental affordability and homeownership. One of the greatest challenges highlighted in the report is the state’s severe shortage of rental homes.

There are only 24 available and affordable rental homes for every 100 extremely low income (ELI) households in Delaware. Renters who do find homes have difficulty paying the monthly rent. At the current Delaware minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, a renter would have to work 106 hours per week, or 2.6 full time jobs, for all 52 weeks of the year to afford a two-bedroom apartment at HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR). High rental costs force many ELI households to spend more than half of their incomes on housing. These households spend less on other basic necessities and are at a greater risk of missed rental payments, eviction, and homelessness.

Due largely to the lack of the affordable housing supply, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the state is on the rise. The 2018 HUD Point-in-Time Count in Delaware found 1,082 individuals and families statewide experiencing homelessness on a single night, a 6% increase from 2017. The Alliance’s report did find that individuals are transitioning from homelessness to housing stability more quickly than in previous years.

Housing Alliance Delaware recommends several policy solutions for solving the state’s affordable housing challenges. One is to preserve and increase the supply of Housing Choice Vouchers to reduce housing authorities’ long and onerous waiting lists. Increasing the minimum wage is another solution that can lift ELI renter household incomes, thereby reducing housing cost burdens. Lastly, the Alliance recommends requiring permanent affordability of subsidized rental housing to prevent the loss of affordable units to the private market.

“We have the means to effectively end homelessness in Delaware. In addition, we are capable of bringing homeownership closer into reach for more Delawareans,” said Christina M. Showalter, executive director of Housing Alliance Delaware. “With work, we can ensure that Delaware residents have a place to call home that is affordable and safe, and in an area of opportunity.”

Read The State of Housing & Homelessness in the First State at: https://bit.ly/2Nt4vRw

For more information contact Tina Showalter at: tshowalter@housingalliancede.org