Liberty Court in Dover completes major renovations

Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) held an event on August 30 marking the completion of renovations at the Liberty Court public housing complex in Dover. It also celebrated the 20th anniversary of Moving to Work, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development program that assists public housing agencies design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies.

“The achievements we are celebrating today are just two examples of the hard work our staff and partners do each day to provide Delawareans with stable, affordable housing,” DSHA Director Ben Addi said. “We are proud of our accomplishments and will continue finding ways to improve our public housing sites and help more of our residents become economically self-sufficient.”

The Liberty Court property was built in 1974 as a privately-owned and market-rate apartment complex and was purchased by DSHA in 1989. From 1990 to 1993, DSHA substantially rehabilitated the property and created 108 public housing subsidized units.

In 2015, an internal inspection on one of the buildings at Liberty Court found areas of moisture within stucco on the exterior of the building was causing the interior walls and framing of the building to swell.

The cost of renovations totaled nearly $18 million with financing provided through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and DSHA’s Affordable Rental Housing and HOME programs. WSFS Bank also provided bond financing totaling $10.1 million and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank Pittsburgh) provided $650,000 through its Affordable Housing Program.

“At WSFS Bank, we are committed to helping organizations like DSHA do great work within our communities, and we are proud to support the housing authority in its latest efforts to renovate Liberty Court,” said Robert Matsko, vice president of commercial real estate. “DSHA has created a beautiful housing site that its residents will enjoy for many years to come.”

The event celebrated 20 successful years of DSHA helping Delawareans become economically self-sufficient through the MTW program. In 1999, HUD chose DSHA as one of 24 public housing agencies in the country to participate in MTW. DSHA is one of just 39 public housing agencies, out of more than 3,400 total in the country, to participate in the MTW program.

Shantel Emory, a former MTW participant who successfully completed the program in 2018, was able to use about $7,800 saved during her five years with MTW to purchase a home in Magnolia.

“The MTW program gave me the financial stability I needed to achieve my goals and find secure housing for my family,” she said. “Without this program, it would have taken me several more years to save enough money to buy my first home. I am grateful DSHA offers this program in our state.”

Since 1999, DSHA has disbursed more than $3.3 million in Moving to Work savings to 995 families who successfully completed the program. Of those families, 698 moved into fair market rental housing and 297 bought a home.

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