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Wilmington Housing Authority Seeks Social Equity-Minded Partners

The CHOICE Neighborhoods Grant is awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

If the Wilmington Housing Authority is to receive a thirty-million-dollar federal CHOICE Neighborhoods Grant to revitalize Hillcrest, they’ll be charged with infrastructure and education improvements to improve not only the housing development--but the surrounding city. To make this happen, they’ll need help from a wide range of community partners. As WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports, the Housing Authority is hoping to secure these partnerships by appealing to investors’ sense of social equity.

The Authority’s defined CHOICE Neighborhood spans Third to Fifteenth, and Martin and Castle Streets. Plans must be designed to benefit the whole neighborhood--not just public housing residents. Rhonda Mack, the Authority’s director of special projects, says they plan to work with WAVE and the city to improve municipal services in the area, and to bring in a stadium, community garden and farmers’ market. 

"By bringing everybody in that neighborhood up a level or two, that helps everybody be a little better off. So we’re looking for people who want to maybe help fund this recreational facility, or other things that we’re looking at, that would kind of say, ‘You know what, I’m gonna do this because I know it’ll make a difference. And so maybe crime in the whole area will be reduced because we’ve helped everybody in this neighborhood.’ "

Mack says the objective is to make this an area in which people will choose to live. The grant becomes available in May--meaning the Authority has about three months to get its partners on board.