Housing

Key changes:

  • Increase home ownership opportunities among Delawareans under 30

  • Revitalize distressed communities to limit gentrification

  • Streamline the inheritance process to allow property to easily transfer to family members

  • Create guidelines and grant funding for minority home buyers

  • Expand the New Castle County Workforce Development program into Kent and Sussex County Delaware

  • Ensure quality affordable housing is available to all Delawareans

  • Provide home ownership assistance to all Delaware National and Air guard members

Home ownership equals housing stability

We have had an affordable housing crisis. Thousands of Delawareans are paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. How do you pay for food, transportation, health care, prescription drugs, education, and childcare when over half of your income is going to pay the rent or the mortgage? The sad and painful reality is that many of them cannot, and millions of Americans are going deeply into debt just to make ends meet.

 

In America today, there is virtually no city or town where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment. We need to build apartments and homes throughout the state that will remain affordable in perpetuity to prevent displacement and serve future generations. And when we do that, we will create hundreds of good-paying jobs in the process.

 

Most public housing is in desperate need of reconstruction and rehabilitation. As a direct result of this chronic underinvestment, residents lose heat in the winter, need kitchen repairs to cook their meals, and do not have adequate accommodations for residents with disabilities. Public housing residents should not be forced to live in unhealthy and unsafe conditions. We need to modernize and repair public housing and provide high speed broadband for all public housing residents. At the same time we can decarbonize public housing by conducting deep energy retrofits including appliances, power, and heating.

 

While we expand and build new housing, we must ensure that current tenants and homeowners are not forced out of their homes or neighborhoods. We must also ensure that wealthy and exclusionary neighborhoods do not prevent new development, forcing gentrification and displacement in low-income and minority areas. In addition, developers and speculators must not reap profits from these neighborhoods without reinvesting in the existing community.

We also need to promote integration and end local segregation that excludes low-income and minority tenants and homeowners. Restrictive zoning ordinances are a racist legacy of Jim Crow-era efforts to enforce segregation. We need to make housing and transportation funds contingent on remedying these zoning ordinances.

 

We should enact  a 2 percent Empty Homes tax on the property value of vacant, owned homes to bring more units into the market and curb the use of housing as speculative investment. To protect homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods from being priced out of their own homes we can limit increases in property taxes as their home’s value rises.

 

Finally, we should encourage home buying for low income and middle class Delawareans as well as first time buyers. Our state already offers a conditional 4% grant for new mortgages. We could add 2% for first time home buyers, buyers whose combined family income is less than $97,000 and all former homeowners who lost their homes in the 2008 financial crash.

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