Four Delaware nonprofit groups will share $6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to increase housing support for people experiencing homelessness.
One of those groups is Home of the Brave in Milford, which will receive $350,000 in federal funds to continue its mission to serve veterans facing homelessness. They provide transitional housing, food, employment help, counseling, and other assistance.
Much of their work is helping vets deal with post-traumatic stress.
“Sometimes we tend to lose focus on what’s important, focusing on our illness and just lose the ability to take care of ourselves because we’re so focused on the event or the injury,” said Michael Teachey, himself a veteran who works as operation supervisor of Home of the Brave.
The money will help Home of the Brave renovate its facility in order to provide additional services for veterans, such as personalized case management, mental health counseling, life-skills training, and educational programs.
“Sometimes we may feel like we’re gridlocked, so we fall below the wayside. We don’t take care of our personal hygiene in a manner that’s going to be presentable to the general public, and we wind up becoming homeless or disconnected from the actual society,” Teachey said. “Society has a way of kicking people down, whether they be veterans or not. Veterans sometimes feel that we get a bad rap because of our conditions.”
Children’s and Families First will get $2.5 million in grant funding to completely renovate its Seaford House Transitional Residents in southern Delaware. CEO Kirsten Olson says the site serves young children in foster care.
“We serve 16 children at Seaford Health, and currently they’re in 8 bedrooms,” she said. “During COVID, it became really clear to us that that presented challenges as we had a child who had been exposed to COVID, it was really difficult for us to be able to isolate them from their peers because kids shared rooms.”
The center aims to help increase privacy and foster comfort for the kids, too.
“There isn’t a lot of private therapeutic space. So when kids were having telehealth visits with their community-based therapies, or even when kids who are trying to do remote school, there weren’t a lot of ways for us to kind of help kids have privacy, keep separate spaces,” Olson said. “So the renovation is going to allow us to do that.”
Renovations will include eight more bedrooms, for a total of 16 single-occupancy rooms, an improved ventilation system, and the construction of outdoor spaces for services and recreational activities.
The grant will also provide $2.4 million to The Springboard Collaborative, a group that recently opened Pallet Village in Georgetown to provide tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness. The 64-square-foot cabins provide residents with air conditioning, heat, and electrical outlets included. They’re spaced about eight feet apart, the minimum amount allowed by the fire marshal. The area includes four common bathrooms, one of which is ADA accessible.
Another $470,000 will go to the Delmarva Clergy United in Social Action Foundation based in Ellendale.
The federal money is in addition to $40 million allocated to libraries across the state earlier this year, along with $65 million sent to support community centers.
“The American Rescue Plan continues to deliver to help our most vulnerable residents in Delaware,” said Senator Tom Carper. “This will help organizations on the front lines of helping shelter and uplift our homeless.”
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