Hundreds of homeless Delawareans have relied on motel vouchers provided by the Division of State Service Centers the past two years.
But American Rescue Plan Act funding for those vouchers is drying up, and the agency is looking for landing places for those still in motels.
Division Director Renee Beaman says those challenges are especially acute in the southern half of the state. “We have close to 600 households or cases that we haven’t been able to transition to affordable or available housing, and especially when we look at Sussex County,” she said. “Sussex County has our highest homelessness rate.”
She adds transitional housing, and motel rooms themselves, are also short supply in Sussex County. And the division receives more than 100 new requests for motel vouchers each month, though not all applicants are eligible.
She adds her team is working with the Delaware State Housing Authority, shelter providers and landlords to identify shelter space, affordable housing and rental assistance to move as many people out of motels as possible. “There still are some resources that will aid in some individuals getting three, six months – even a year of rent,” she said. “There are some that help with getting a security deposit. That is our challenge.”
The State Housing Authority and nonprofit housing providers are preparing to use millions of dollars in new ARPA funding for affordable housing developments or preservation across the state.
That includes providing incentives for developers to renovate or replace vacant buildings as housing and building 40 new affordable rental units for poultry workers in Sussex County – a community hit especially hard by the housing crisis.