Revamping Housing in Delaware County: A Comprehensive Report by Delaware County Housing Coalition

Affordable housing© susandaniels / Getty Images / Canva

Delaware County Housing Coalition’s Three-Part Study

MEDIA, PA — The Delaware County Housing Coalition, in tandem with the Foundation for Delaware County, recently held a conclave where they revealed a rigorous tripartite update on the housing issues plaguing the residents of Delaware County. The participants comprised an array of elected officials, coalition members, numerous public members, and crucial community players. Dr. Monica Taylor, Chair of the Delaware County Council, inaugurated the proceedings with an in-depth discourse on the approach of the Housing Coalition.

Formed in the early part of 2023, the Delaware County Housing Coalition is an ambitious initiative brought to fruition through the concerted efforts of the Delaware County Council, the Foundation for Delaware County, and State Senator Tim Kearney. Their key mission? To tackle the intertwined issues of affordable housing and homelessness that Delaware County is grappling with, by fostering a vast partnership of organizations and agencies which has expanded to include over 90 organizations in a short span.

Housing the Unhoused

Sandra Garrison, the Chief of Social Services and Community Programs, offered insights into the County’s unhoused population, shedding light on the increasing demand for secure housing and shelters. She stressed the need for bolstered funding, augmented staffing, and enhanced shelter facilities. To make their vision of negligible homelessness a reality—where homelessness is brief, rare, and non-recurring, the Coalition identified three immediate priorities:

  • Increased housing/rental capacity
  • Expanded outreach and coordination
  • Enhanced services to prevent residents from becoming unhoused

The Rising Tide of Rental Prices

Jordan Casey of the Foundation for Delaware County tackled the prickly issue of affordable rental housing. Home to approximately 177,000 renters, Delaware County’s rental market is witnessing an unprecedented surge in rental prices despite an aging housing stock. Casey stated that a two-bedroom apartment in Delaware County now commands an average rent of $1,470 per month. This implies that a resident needs to earn $58,800 to afford such a property at fair market rates. To address these mounting issues, Casey proposed three crucial steps:

  • An increase in rental supply
  • Eviction diversion programs
  • Education of tenants, landlords, and municipalities

The Dream of Affordable Homeownership

Philip Welsh, head of the Office of Housing and Community Development, highlighted the obstacles inhibiting Delaware County residents from attaining and sustaining homeownership. He suggested practical initiatives to enhance homeownership through current and prospective stakeholder groups. In 2023, Delaware County registered the second-most house foreclosures per housing unit in the state. Welsh identified three strategies to address these challenges:

  • Homeowner stabilization
  • Expansion of opportunities
  • Increase in housing supply

The meeting was broadcast on the Delaware County YouTube channel. Dr. Taylor, concluding the presentation, affirmed that while they had made significant progress, there was still a long way to go to aid Delaware County residents optimally.

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