Gov. John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi on Thursday, March 26, announced a new program to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. This will include rent or electric bills.
The Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DE HAP) will provide eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company. Applications will be available on DSHA’s website at www.destatehousing.com or at de.gov/coronavirus.
“From restaurant workers and small business owners, to hair stylists and barbers, we know many Delawareans are facing a very challenging time as they struggle with the economic effects of the public health emergency,” said Carney. “We hope this assistance program will give Delaware families, especially our most vulnerable neighbors, some peace of mind as this situation continues to evolve.”
Earlier this week, Carney issued a Sixth Modification to his State of Emergency Declaration, preventing landlords from evicting Delawareans from their homes during the COVID-19 crisis. Under the order, landlords also cannot charge late fees or interest during a State of Emergency.
“By pausing evictions, Gov. Carney has taken the necessary steps to keep Delawareans in their homes, but we know that after the crisis, many of our neighbors will continue to face financial challenges,” said DSHA Director Addi. “This rental relief program is designed to help our neighbors in need now to prevent a wave of evictions in the coming months.”
DSHA provided $2 million in funding for DE HAP, and New Castle County contributed $500,000. “During these difficult times, we need to pull all of our resources together to help those who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 crisis,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We know this funding may not solve all of the problems our neighbors are facing, but this program is a great step in the right direction. I am pleased that New Castle County is able to support Gov. Carney and DSHA in their efforts.”
Several community partners will assist DSHA in processing applications through the program, including West End Neighborhood House, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Community Services, First State Community Action Agency and the Sussex County Community Resource Center.
“The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. Every day, we receive numerous calls from Delawareans who are struggling to pay their rent or utility bills because of an unexpected layoff, a reduction in hours, or the closure of a business,” said West End Neighborhood House Executive Director Paul F. Calistro Jr. “If we can help our state’s residents stay in their homes both during and after this crisis, it will benefit us all. West End is honored to partner with Governor Carney and DSHA on this worthwhile program.”
To be eligible for DE HAP, applicants must reside in Delaware and have a maximum household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which they reside. The applicant must also provide documentation showing that their employment or income was impacted, starting March 10 or later, attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes such instances as a layoff, reduced work hours or needing to take unpaid leave due to childcare or other issues arising as a result of the health crisis.
Income eligibility per county is 80% of County Area Median Income (AMI), as follows:
Income Eligibility for Renters Impacted by Coronavirus (income per household)
|County||1 Person||2 People||3 People||Four People|
|New Castle County||$50,500||$57,700||$64,900||$72,100|
Delaware announces first death and 143 cases
On the day that the U.S. exceeded all individual countries in confirmed cases of COVID-19, Delaware also announced its first death.
A 66-year-old man passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Critically ill, he was hospitalized out-of-state and had underlying health conditions. Because he was a Sussex County resident, he is counted in Delaware’s death toll.
There have been 143 total laboratory-confirmed cases in the state since March 11, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) daily update. That’s 24 more cases from the day before. Of the Delawareans diagnosed with COVID-19, a total of 91 are from New Castle County, 19 are from Kent County, and 33 are from Sussex County. (This is a cumulative total, including individuals who are currently ill, those who are considered “recovered,” and the one deceased individual, announced earlier today.)
Patients are considered fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms (three days after symptoms resolve, they are no longer required to self-isolate at home. However, they must continue to practice extreme social distancing for the remaining four days).
Of the current 143 cases, 71 are male and 72 are female. The individuals range in age from 1 to 90. Fifteen individuals are currently hospitalized; nine are critically ill. The source of exposure for many of these positive cases is unknown, which indicates community spread of the virus is occurring in the state. Updated details are online at de.gov/coronavirus.
On March 25, there had been 119 confirmed cases (79 from New Castle County, 14 from Kent County, and 26 from Sussex County), with 14 hospitalizations.
On March 24, there had been 104 confirmed cases (71 from New Castle, 10 from Kent, and 23 from Sussex), with 11 hospitalizations.
On March 23, Gov. John Carney declared a Public Health Emergency in Delaware. On March 22, he issued the modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in the state to help stop community spread of COVID-19, starting March 24.
This order does allow Delawareans to leave their homes to buy groceries, see a doctor, pick up prescriptions or engage in other activities essential to their health.
For those with questions or symptoms
Anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or has symptoms of illness —which may include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, body aches and sore throat — to make sure to distance themselves from others, particularly vulnerable populations. This includes people 60 years of age and older; people with serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease or heart disease; or those who are immunocompromised.
Individuals who are sick should stay home and contact a primary care provider for guidance regarding symptoms and next steps. DPH recommends that individuals who are sick, even with mild symptoms that would be present with a cold or flu, are strongly advised to stay home to help prevent the spread of illness to others.
Test sites are available statewide, but only with a referral from a physician or telemedicine provider. These are not walk-in sites. Those without a primary care provider can call the DPH Call Center Line at 1-866-408-1899.
Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for individuals who are hearing-impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.