MINQUADALE – New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, joined a number New Castle County leadership on Tuesday including representatives from the department of Land Use, Public Works, Community Services, Sheriffs department and law department to note the progress of New Castle County’s Vacant Spaces to Livable Places initiative. The program, launched in 2017, has converted more than 700 homes or vacant lots into affordable housing as well as collected more than $3.4 million in back taxes, fees and fines. The program has resulted in in a 53% decrease in vacant properties county-wide. More than $1.7 of the $3.4 million will be returned back to New Castle County school districts.
“This has been a herculean effort, spanning across numerous branches and governmental bodies, and incredible teamwork from multiple departments in New Castle County government,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “When we launched this program, we heard directly from neighbors and communities who were being impacted directly and to be able to increase their quality of life is remarkable.”
To read the Vacant Spaces report, click here.
To view the press conference, click here.
Vacant and blighted properties, which can lead to increased crime and other unsavory behavior, are an important issue in maintaining and revitalizing healthy communities. Strategic management of vacant properties has been successful in addressing these issues, which in turn helps to preserve surrounding property values and reduce maintenance costs to local governments.
The announcement took place in Minquadale at a home that will soon be open as a transitional housing for young women aging out of foster care which will be owned and managed by Duffy’s Hope.
“Addressing housing insecurity for youth aging out of foster care and young people that are navigating the vicissitudes of life is central to our approach to build better neighborhoods,” said Sen. Darius Brown. “The funds we awarded are the building blocks to the help and hope that Duffy’s Hope offers our children. With stable housing we are removing one of the impediments to them realizing their fullest potential and all the opportunities afforded to them in the second senate district.”
The program was recognized with a national award at the 2023 National Association of Counties award.
County Executive Meyer formed the New Castle County Vacant Housing Working Group in an effort to have all county departments leverage their collective resources to address this growing problem. In addition to the County Executive's Office, other working group members include the Departments of Land Use, Community Services, Law, Finance and Public Safety, as well as County Council and the Sheriff's Office.
In addition to the utilization of county resources, several grants have been applied for and received by the County including a $100,000 grant from the Delaware State Housing Authority to be applied towards the maintenance of vacant properties, a $1.3 Million grant from the Delaware State Housing Authority to develop and rehabilitate properties along the Route 9 corridor, and a $25,000 planning grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) to develop community plans for Edgemoor Gardens and Sparrow Run, which have very high rates of vacancy, crime and blight.