Selbyville (and Sussex County) homeowners still eligible for housing help

Everyone wants a home that is safe, warm and fully livable. For anyone having trouble getting over that hump, or who finds themselves putting off truly necessary home repairs, Sussex County continues to offer help.

The entire goal of the Sussex County Community Development Block Grant program is to keep people in homes that are safe, affordable and fully livable.

On Dec. 2, County staff presented information on the program to the Selbyville Town Council.

“We’ve worked with Selbyville many years. … The purpose of the funding is to assist low- to moderate-income housing projects here in town,” said Mike Jones of the Sussex County Community Development & Housing Department.

The most typical housing rehab projects for the program include windows, doors, electricity, siding, plumbing and wells, and it covers many more types of projects.

Program requirements are simple. Houses must be homeowner-occupied, not rental units. The maximum income for a home with one occupant to qualify is about $40,000 (about $5,000 more per each additional occupant). They must have homeowner insurance and be current with county property taxes.

This is a free program for Sussex County homeowners. They will not be charged any fees (unless the homeowner moves out before the program’s interest-free five- or 10-year lien expires).

The goal is to keep people in their own homes, “So we don’t fix up somebody’s home and they turn around and sell it,” Jones explained. “Time pays it, money doesn’t pay it.”

As a formality to the program, each Sussex County municipality must host a public hearing on the subject. The Selbyville Town Council supports it whole-heartedly each year.

“They’ve been doing it in Selbyville a number of years,” said Mayor Clifton Murray, “and they always worked good with us and did a lot of good for people who couldn’t afford to fix up their house.”

Selbyville residents have benefitted from hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs over the years. Town Hall can suggest names to the County, or residents can call the County directly.

To fund the program, Sussex and Kent counties apply for federal HUD money on a competitive basis.

For more information:

• Call the Sussex County Community Development & Housing Department at (302) 855-7777.

• Call Selbyville Town Hall at (302) 436-8314.

• Visit the website at https://sussexcountyde.gov/community-development-block-grant-progress.

In other Selbyville news from the Dec. 2 meeting:

• Mike Tirrell, a Mountaire vice president, updated the town council on various projects that he said should speed up truck unloading at the company’s poultry plant in town, as well as improve employee parking and traffic flow, and fix ongoing compliance issues with trailer parking.

“We’re trying to make plans to make improvements where we know we have weaknesses,” Tirrell said.

• A Lighthouse Lakes resident is asking the Town for clarification on regulations installing patio pavers. He said his homeowner association forbade it, citing town code on setbacks. But pavers are not a permanent structure, he argued.

Questions were directed to Councilman Jay Murray because of his business relationship with the community’s developer, C. Coleman Bunting Jr.

Noting that he personally felt amenable to pavers, Murray said, “I’ll get on the phone tomorrow with Coleman … and try to make this go away.”

Although the Planning & Zoning Commission has previously discussed the topic, they never decided to update the code, said Town Administrator Stacey Long.

• The Selbyville Public Library will soon begin designs for a massive building project. Ideas are welcome now since “nothing is quite on paper yet, and no shovels have hit the ground either,” said Library Director Kelly Kline. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to serve a community that’s growing, even better. That’s our goal: to serve the community.”

Also, the library has won a $500 Delaware Library Association grant for their summer lunch program.

 

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter