Archive for April, 2010

Sussex County Offers Vacant Home

Below is a recent press release from Sussex County.  This is a great step forward and Unite Sussex will be working with the county and other groups to help make these homes available to those who need them.  Take a moment to read through the release and spread the word!  You can also view the press release online here.

Sussex County offers use of vacant County-owned houses to Habitat for Humanity

Two empty houses waiting for a date with the wrecking ball will instead find new life as temporary housing for those in need.

County Council, at its Tuesday, March 30, 2010, meeting, approved a proposal to lend the use of two vacant houses owned by the County to Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. Sussex Habitat, in turn, will renovate both properties and use them as temporary residences – one as a transitional home for families waiting to move into their new Habitat-built houses, the other as quarters for AmeriCorps volunteers constructing Habitat homes in the county.

“It would appear that the committee has made a wise choice in meeting the goals of the request for proposals,” County Council President Vance C. Phillips said. “Ideally this is the beginning of a healthy public-private partnering process that will lead to more opportunities for the County Council to help those in need, without creating a burden on the taxpayer.”

In January, Sussex County issued a request for proposals from organizations interested in using three vacant County-owned homes as a means to provide decent, affordable housing for those in need.

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity was among six qualified applicants that were reviewed and then ranked by a committee comprising members of the County Council, County staff, the County attorney, and community volunteers.

Habitat for Humanity’s proposal was scored the highest, in part, because of the non-profit organization’s proven record, financial stability, and proposal to renovate the homes at no expense to the County, said Gina A. Jennings, director of the County’s Accounting division and one of the members of the committee.
The houses, all located near the Sussex County Airport near Georgetown and purchased as part of a planned runway expansion project, are eventually slated for demolition or removal. However, the properties were expected to remain vacant for several years as the runway project progresses, and County leaders wanted to find an interim use for the houses that could benefit a local organization and the community at large.

“These houses were just sitting there, some might say going to waste,” said Brandy A. Bennett, Sussex County’s housing coordinator. “We didn’t want that to be the case. We’d rather be a part of the solution when it comes to providing affordable housing for our residents.
“This proposal is a perfect fit with our goal. Habitat’s plan to revitalize these properties will help further stabilize the community, and it will help put honest, hard-working people in homes of their own,” Ms. Bennett said.

Sussex County will retain ownership of the pair of one-story houses Sussex Habitat will use. Habitat for Humanity, though, will be responsible for all upkeep, maintenance and utilities. Final details will be worked out in a contract lease agreement to be drafted in the coming weeks.

Meantime, County officials will further evaluate possible uses of the third house that was not part of Sussex Habitat’s proposal. Sussex County anticipates Sussex Habitat to begin using the two houses sometime this summer or fall.

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