Within a few weeks, housing for homeless female veterans in downstate Delaware will longer be a dream. A recently leased building is now set to open.
The Home of the Brave Foundation plans to open a facility in downtown Milford by the end of February for up to eight women and children. The large, three-story home served as a men's homeless shelter for 14 years.
Home of the Brave Executive Director Jessica Finan said the foundation has a one-year lease with the building's owner, God's Way to Recovery. She said after the year is up, the foundation will evaluate the program and continue the lease or possibly seek to purchase the property.
Demand for the housing – especially with the harsh winter weather – has been high. Finan said dozens of women have contacted Home of the Brave seeking shelter. “All we could do was tell them to check back with us,” she said.
Jules Jackson, a Cape Henlopen High School and Villanova University graduate, is case manager at the facility. Staff and board members were on hand Feb. 5 during an open house and tour of the facility.
Home of the Brave has provided transitional housing for homeless male veterans for the past 21 years, currently at a facility on Sharps Road off Route 1 south of Milford. The women's program would follow the same basic guidelines as the men's program and provide transitional housing, Finan said.
A house purchased by the organization on Griffith Lake Drive has been sold, Finan said. The Home of the Brave board decided against opening a women's facility there because of opposition from neighbors and restrictions placed on the facility by the county's board of adjustment.
Finan said unlike a typical shelter, Home of the Brave offers transitional housing for six to nine months, but as long as two years if needed. Women will be offered counseling, financial planning, transportation services, clothing, medical and mental healthcare services, life skills and job training and eventually discharge planning.
Finan said the men's shelter has years of success behind it. “We plan to mirror that,” she said.
Beth McGinn, foundation chairwoman, said the Veterans Administration is not funding any new projects such as the women's facility, which will rely solely on donations from grants, veterans organizations and community groups. Several organizations have already become involved with donations and several groups have sponsored rooms in the facility.
To make a donation or get more information, phone 302-424-1681 or go to homeofthebravefdn.org.
Paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent pods, dishwasher soap and liquid dish soap, coffee, powered creamer, sugar and sugar substitutes, cooking oils, assorted meats, spices and seasonings, diapers, diaper wipes and cream, new socks and underwear for women and children and rolls of stamps.
Call 302-491-4216 to arrange a drop-off time.