DSHA Releases Del. Housing Needs Assessment 2015-2020 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DSHA Releases Del. Housing Needs Assessment 2015-2020

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 DOVER, Del. - Delaware Governor Jack Markell released the Delaware Housing Needs Assessment for the years 2015-2020 on Monday. The report will drive planning for housing resources a the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and in communities around the state.

Stakeholders, including government, nonprofit and for-profit partners and service providers, joined the DSHA at Delaware Technical and Community College's Terry Campus in Dover Monday to hear the key findings. Governor Jack Markell noted, "Housing is a critical part of our economy and our communities, and our homes and neighborhoods are also the center of family life. Affordable housing needs affect so many of the other outcomes we care about - in health, education, economic growth, land use, and downtown revitalization."

The report was prepared by GCR Incorporated out of New Orleans, Louisiana and The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DSHA says, with this new analysis of housing needs and market conditions in the state for years 2015-2020, DSHA will be identifying priorities for the next five years and evaluating its programs and strategies.

"While DSHA's mission is affordable housing, it is inseparable from broader housing trends.  We need to understand housing demand and the housing market as a whole in order to work within it to advance affordable housing and community development, which is exactly what this needs assessment and market value analysis help us do," said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.

Rebecca Rothenberg is the Planning Manager at GCR Incorporated and she led the project team. She said the study shows the current housing climate in the First State and the challenges the many families face in finding quality housing at a reasonable rate.

"Some of the bigger trends - including a drop in home ownership rates, an increased demand for rental housing, shrinking household sizes, and the needs of aging homeowners - reflect issues relevant today," said Rothenberg. "It also discusses the persistent affordability challenges for low-income households, particularly the working poor and very low-income families, who have difficulty finding rental housing they can afford.  Oftentimes, these families reside in distressed neighborhoods with high poverty rates."

The DSHA says affordable housing pressures have increased in recent years, with stresses on household incomes and increased demand for rental units both as a result of demographic changes and the foreclosure crisis. Statewide, 44,000 renters have housing challenges (paying more than 30% of their income for housing or living in overcrowded or deeply substandard living conditions), equal to 51% of renter households. The DSHA says needs are most severe for those with very low incomes (50% of Area Median Income depending on location and household size; about $25,000/year), where 18,400 households are severely cost burdened, paying more than 50% of their income for housing costs.

The DSHA says Delaware has fared better than many of its neighbors in the recent recession and its economy remains strong for the region. The housing authority says projected steady job growth will support household growth and subsequently new housing demand. The DSHA says home prices are also recovering, but slowly. It says on a positive note, this has madehome ownershipp a more affordable option for many households who were priced out in the housing boom. The new construction market is responding to changing demand with smaller, more affordable units closer in to towns and cities.

Ira Goldstein, President of Policy Solutions at The Reinvestment Fund, which completed the Market Value Analysis section of the research, stated, "TRF is gratified to have contributed to Delaware State Housing Authority's understanding of the needs of its housing markets.  We look forward to the state using this analysis to make impactful, evidence-based decisions about its housing programs and resources."

"Successful community development, neighborhood revitalization, and downtown development initiatives must recognize and work in concert with their local housing market. This research helps us all to better understand those forces in order to shape the most effective responses," said Governor Markell.

To view the Delaware Housing Needs Assessment, visit: http://www.destatehousing.com/FormsAndInformation/needs.php

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