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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Mary Fenimore
Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date: May 19, 2022


NEW CASTLE (May 19, 2022) - During Older Americans Month, the Department of Health and Social Services' (DHSS) Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) on Thursday announced a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County to support its Healthy Homes Program as a way to support older Delawareans to age safely in their own homes.

DSAAPD will provide funding to allow Habitat for Humanity to expand Healthy Homes to older Delawareans as part of a pilot in New Castle County. Healthy Homes addresses home health hazards in order to keep homes dry, clean, ventilated, pest-free, contaminant-free and maintained. The program helps low-income homeowners impacted by age, disability and family circumstances reclaim their homes with pride and dignity.

The pilot, which will begin in the Route 9 Corridor just south of Wilmington, was announced Thursday during an event at the Rose Hill Community Center near New Castle. Officials said the pilot will help gauge the need for funding for similar services in central Delaware and Sussex County. A state senator who represents the pilot area was instrumental in bringing the possibility of such a partnership to Delaware.

"Our progress as a state can be measured by how we treat our most vulnerable residents," said state Senator Darius Brown, D-Wilmington. "With 1 in 5 Delawareans over the age of 65, we have a responsibility to make sure the people who raised us, who provided for us and who worked hard to create a better world for us to inherit are well taken care of in their senior years," he said. "I want to thank the Delaware Division of Aging and Habitat for Humanity for answering the call with a creative, community-focused partnership that will provide direct care to our most vulnerable seniors where they need it most - right in their own homes. I look forward to seeing older residents in the Route 9 Corridor get the helping hand they deserve, and I hope to see this program expanded to other deserving seniors elsewhere in our state very soon."

"Supporting older Delawareans in their pursuit to age with health and independence in the community of their choice is a priority of the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities," said DSAAPD Director Melissa Smith. "This partnership with Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County is a critical step in supporting Delawareans to safely age in their homes and communities by offering much-needed minor home repairs to help make that happen."

"Habitat for Humanity is just as focused and concerned with sustaining homeownership as it is on creating new homeownership opportunities," said Kevin L. Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County. "We appreciate this new partnership with the State of Delaware to help seniors age in place and stay in their homes."

The pilot will target:

The following are examples of Healthy Homes services that may be available through this project:

Before the pilot program launches officially, individuals 60 or older in need of minor home repair services in the Route 9 Corridor should call Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County at 302-652-0365 to start the application, or the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at 1-800-223-9074 for more information.


Group photo: At the announcement Thursday morning at Rose Hill Community Center near New Castle (from left): Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County CEO Kevin L. Lewis, Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) Chief Administrator Cynthia Mercer, DSAAPD Director Melissa Smith, state Representative Franklin Cooke, state Senator Darius Brown, DSAAPD Deputy Director Brian Bayley, and Julie P. Devlin, Executive Assistant to the DSAAPD Director.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.