veterans housing

Veterans housing project imperiled as developers spar in court

Karl BakerCulture, Headlines

veterans housing

The Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans is still trying to build the Carolyn Center apartments seen here, but its developer said it isn’t working to advance the project. | PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW CASTLE COUNTY

In the fall of 2022, David Mosley, the affable but embattled CEO of the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans, told the New Castle County Council that his plan to build 60 apartments for struggling military Veterans and their families was just a first step in a coming wave of housing construction for vulnerable people.

Mosley’s comments followed the council’s unanimous approval to give his organization up to $5 million to purchase a blighted property in Edgemoor on which to build the five-building apartment complex for Veterans to be called the Carolyn Center.

As a consequence, millions of unspent state dollars previously committed to the Veterans apartment project has been put at risk, the lawsuit claims.

“For unknown reasons, DCHV is refusing to honor its commitments,” states the lawsuit, which was filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery.

In all, the conflict among the development team has delayed the construction of subsidized family housing in a region where Veterans support services are typically tailored to single men, said Stephen Metraux, a University of Delaware professor who studies homelessness.

Only for Veterans?

Instead of turning the property over to the Carolyn Center partnership, the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans last fall listed the parcel for sale for a hefty $2 million.

It did so four months after the City of Wilmington filed separate legal claims against the nonprofit, alleging the group fraudulently diverted more than $300,000 to its staff salaries and away from its intended uses of paying for meals and services at the Hope Center – New Castle County’s new homeless shelter.

Weight bloom amtrak assault housingThe Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans denied the city’s claims in a court filing.

While the group has not yet filed its response in the lawsuit brought by the Delaware Valley Development Company (DVDC), Mosley did email answers to questions about it for this story.

When asked why he placed the Carolyn Center property for sale last fall, Mosley pointed to “indications” that the apartments were “not going to be built for Veterans and their families as originally planned.”

He stated that he would like to form a new partnership agreement with the DVDC that makes explicit that the apartments are only intended for tenants with federal Veterans housing vouchers.

“DCHV and DVDC are in negotiations to iron out an agreement, one that ensures the project returning to DCHVs’ original outlined intent of the property and project,” he said.

George Beer, president of the Delaware Valley Development Group, declined to comment for this story.

Last fall, Eden Roberts, a vice president at Beer’s company, indicated in public testimony that the Carolyn Center plans could, in fact, allow some units to be rented by non-Veterans.

During a meeting of the New Castle County planning board, Roberts said the venture is not allowed to “restrict housing to specifically Veterans.” Still, she said, it was the company’s intention to fill nearly all units with tenants using federal Veterans housing vouchers.

“We’re still working out the final details of that with the county and the other agencies,” Roberts said at the time.

Need for Veterans housing?

Nearly a decade ago, state and federal agencies combined efforts to provide homes for nearly all homeless Veterans in Delaware.

While the initiative was largely successful, such conditions often change year over year, said Metraux, the housing expert.

“The problem is Veteran homelessness is not like landing on the moon, you know, you do it and it’s done forever,” Metraux said.

While the current need for Veterans housing in Delaware is not entirely clear, Metraux said that housing for families – such as the two- and three-bedroom apartments promised by the Carolyn Center – is in demand. Family-oriented housing is particularly rare in the Veterans services field, he said.

“So, it’s a shame that it seems to be such a mess right now,” he said of the plans to develop the Carolyn Center.

veterans housing

The Carolyn Center apartments would replace the former First State Bowling property in Edgemoor. | SPOTLIGHT DELAWARE PHOTO BY KARL BAKER

Seemingly ideal partners

While much is still unclear about the dispute between Beer’s development company and Mosley’s Veterans’ organization, what is known is that in 2022 the two entities appeared to be ideal partners to develop the Carolyn Center.

The Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans was a well-regarded nonprofit that provided various services for the homeless at the county-owned Hope Center, and provided housing at its own Wilmington building, called the Pearl Center.

Meanwhile, the Delaware Valley Development Group was a company with a long history of securing low-income housing tax credits to build affordable housing projects.

After signing their partnership agreement, the venture requested more than $4 million from a Delaware State Housing Authority development fund and from a tax credit program in May 2022.

That same month, the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans purchased the bowling alley property for $1 million.

Five months later, the New Castle County Council approved giving the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans up to $5 million for the acquisition of the Carolyn Center property.

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It is not immediately clear why the county approved a sum of money that amounted to five times the amount of its purchase, which had occurred months earlier.

Ultimately, though, New Castle County only gave Mosley’s group $1.2 million, enough to cover the purchase price and closing costs, said Brian Cunningham, a spokesman for County Executive Matt Meyer.

Over the subsequent months, the DVDC moved forward with drawing up blueprints and other plans for the apartments, which promised to have space for as many as 60 Veterans and their families. The plans also called for a community building and gazebo.

During those early months, the project won praise and media attention as many hoped it would add to services that the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans provided at the county-owned Hope Center and at the group’s own Pearl Center.

But, last summer, public perception of Mosley’s group largely changed after the City of Wilmington sued the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans.

In his email, Mosley said his group is trying to keep the city’s lawsuit from interfering with its ongoing goal of building the Carolyn Center. He further stated that since the city’s lawsuit the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans no longer provides social services at the Hope Center.

“Since leaving, we have returned to our core operations of providing all layers of housing and supportive services for homeless Veterans and Veterans’ families at-risk of homelessness,” Mosley said.

A jury trial is scheduled in the Wilmington case for Sept. 30.

This story was originally published on Spotlight Delaware. Get stories like this delivered to your email inbox by signing up for the free newsletter at

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