Dogfish helps clear way for homeless village

Springboard Collaborative project includes 40 units on 3-acre site in Georgetown
August 19, 2022

Story Location:
Railroad Avenue
Georgetown, DE 19947
United States

Dogfish Head Brewery employees probably never imagined they would be mixing a concoction of old paint and kitty litter.

That was one of their tasks during a Dogfish Benevolence Day to help clear the site for the new Springboard Collaborative Pallet Shelter Village on a 3-acre lot behind First State Community Action Agency in downtown Georgetown.

During the day, the employees stabilized more than a hundred gallons of old paint using kitty litter for disposal, and helped clear overgrown vegetation from a fence line along the property’s perimeter.

Mark Chura, project manager, said several months of work to ready the site has already taken place. He said the lot had become a dumping ground overgrown with invasive plants.

The village, the first in Delaware, will contain 40 units serving up to 60 homeless people built by the Pallet Co. based in Everett, Wash. Each 64-square-foot unit will contain one or two beds with bedding, heat and air conditioning, and storage space.

Included in the plan is a community building for meals, services, meetings and recreation. Since the units do not contain plumbing, bathroom and shower units will be constructed.

Judson Malone, Springboard co-founder and director of operations, said the unsheltered population in the Georgetown area has reached a crisis. “This will make a difference in their lives,” he said. He also thanked Dogfish Head for its financial support of the village.

Springboard is a nonprofit shelter and housing developer for people experiencing homelessness and those who are housing insecure.

“This is one of more than 80 villages countrywide. This is a proven intervention process with 60 percent of residents attaining self-sufficiency within six months,” said Mike Rawl, a principal with Horizon Philanthropic Services.

Chura said the goal is to make the site a community and not a compound. “This a step out of the woods for many people,” he said.

A homeless tent encampment is located near the site along the railroad tracks.

Springboard's Trish Hill has worked with the homeless population in the area for the past four years. “These people are very close to my heart, and they are excited to have a place for themselves. They are a very tight-knit community,” she said.

The collaborative is planning to have the units in place this October.

Already in place to serve the residents of the village are:

First State Community Action Agency - case workers, employment counseling and training; Georgetown Police Department - mental health clinicians; Georgetown Public Library - remote health monitoring; Department of Health and Social Services/Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health, Department of Labor/Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and La Red Health Center - comprehensive health and behavioral health services; Brandywine Counseling and Community Services - intake and assessment; and Beebe Healthcare - emergency and other health services.

Village services will include: Hand washing and sanitizing stations, face masks and cleaning supplies, and on-site offices for Springboard staff as well as for partner organizations such as housing specialists, social workers, security staff, medical personnel and mental health counselors.

The property will be fence-enclosed with a main entrance, a vehicle entrance for fire trucks/EMS vehicles, and an alarmed emergency exit. The main entrance will be monitored by staff during the day and by professional security overnight to ensure only authorized individuals are on the property.

Transportation is planned to help participants access off-site programs and services, and seek employment. A DART bus hub is within walking distance on Railroad Avenue.



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