Substandard housing and repair costs have a clear link to housing affordability - and health - according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Delaware
The Delaware Community Foundation funded the study on behalf of Habitat for Humanity in all three Delaware counties. New Castle County Habitat for Humanity CEO Kevin Smith said identifying and fixing a variety of repairs can help people of lower incomes as well as senior citizens stay in their homes and avoid having to find other, more costly housing or going to the rental market.
"It's more effective to provide repair services and keep somebody in their home than necessarily to build a new house. We're still doing that, but we want to try to find all the different partners who link up with health and energy efficiency and resiliency to provide these repairs," Smith said.
Smith and other Habitat leaders hope to utilize these findings to demonstrate the need for more funding for these and other home repair programs. The study also examined various socio-economic factors that create housing affordability challenges and made a series of recommendations.
"There are over 25,000 low-income homeowners in the State of Delaware who need some level of repair work on their houses to keep them healthy and safe," Smith said. He added that the study also determined that about 5,000 of those existing homes were in need of substantial repairs.