Sussex Co. Opens Applications For Affordable Housing Trust Fund


The Sussex County Office of Community Development and Housing will begin taking applications Friday for affordable housing assistance through the Housing Trust Fund.

County Council approved the program last fall, and it begins with $6.8-million in funding. Most of the money comes through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Sussex County is also budgeting half-a-million dollars to the Housing Trust Fund.

Applicants may be individuals or groups in search of affordable rental housing or home ownership.
Income guidelines apply.

“Affordable housing is very much on the minds of the public, and the County Council, for that matter, especially here in Sussex County, where we have a soaring real estate market,” Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent said. “And rightfully so. We all have to live somewhere, and every community needs affordable housing options. Hopefully, this program will provide the seed money that working families and housing advocates can use to cultivate an environment of affordability, one that guarantees people can continue to live, work, and play in Sussex County for decades to come.”

Another component of the program is available to developers, groups and others that are working to expand Sussex County’s affordable housing stock, making grants available for each affordable housing unit that is built.

Affordable housing was identified as a priority in the development of Sussex County for the next 25 to 30 percent under a comprehensive plan adopted in 2018. Discussions with stakeholders resulted in a 2019 housing study that led to creation of the Housing Trust Fund.

“This is a tremendous step for Sussex County, one that I hope will have a meaningful outcome for the countless families and individuals out there looking for quality and affordable housing,” Sussex County Director of Community Development and Housing Brandy Nauman said. “I’m proud that the County is stepping up to be a leader in helping to bridge the affordability gap that, left unaddressed, would only grow wider in time.”

According to Sussex County officials:

Under the program, qualified individual applicants must meet income eligibility requirements – up to 120 percent of area median income, but with a core focus on those earning under 65 percent of AMI – to tap one-time forgivable loans ranging from $10,000 to as much as $30,000 for the purchase of affordable housing. The loans will be pro-rated, with zero percent interest, and forgiven after 10 years of homeownership.

Applications for the direct buyers’ assistance forgivable loan portion of the program will be accepted beginning April 1, and continue on a rolling basis as long as funding is available; proposals for funding from the development grant fund, meantime, will be accepted in a series of rounds, with the first scheduled to run between April 1 and April 29.

All applications will be reviewed for income eligibility and other requirements. Housing groups or builders applying for the development grant program will be reviewed by the Housing Trust Fund advisory board, with any awards requiring County Council approval. 

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