The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) has been awarded $5.1 million to subsidize 170 affordable housing units for people with disabilities.

The award is part of a federal program that is funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It will allow people with disabilities to live in a community, not in an institutional unit.

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home,” said Congressman John Carney. “The funding announced today will provide that for Delawareans who have disabilities and need long-term support.” The program will support participants with housing, inspections, and rental processing for five years.

Governor Jack Markell says that this could not come at a better time, especially when, “People with disabilities are facing disproportionate housing and employment challenges.” He also says, “It’s important to us to give these individuals the opportunity to live independently with safe, secure, long-term housing and appropriate support services so they can be successful.”

Jane C.W. Vincent, HUD’s Regional Administrator of the Mid-Atlantic region, says they are happy to support Delaware. She also says that the funds will provide an increase in permanent homes available for very low income people with disabilities in the community.

The newly announced program will build on the state-funded State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP). SRAP was launched in August of 2011 with a similar objective in mind: to help low income residents with safe, affordable housing in the state of Delaware. The SRAP program, backed by Governor Markell, was funded with $1.5 million. The new funding increases the federal contribution by 71%

The Department of Health and Social Services will identify eligible applicants for the program. They will also coordinate care and services for residents. DSHA will manage the financial backing for the housing. Residents will also contribute a portion of their monthly income towards housing expenses.

A spokesman for the DSHA says one of the requirements to be eligible for the program is that the housing unit cannot already be subsidized. There also cannot be a concentration of subsidized homes greater than 20% on one site. The spokesman says the idea behind that is that any one cluster of housing can not be turned into a group home setting.