The planned opening before Thanksgiving of the homeless Pallet village in Georgetown has been delayed.
The 40 cabin-like, 64-square-foot units were fabricated by a team of volunteers from several county companies in mid-October on First State Community Action Agency property in downtown Georgetown.
In a partnership between Town of Georgetown officials and nonprofits Springboard Collaborative and First State, construction began on the Pallet village off North Railroad Avenue Oct. 17, when trucks from Pallet Co. rolled onto the vacant lot. It's the first Pallet shelter village in Delaware.
Judson Malone, Springboard executive director, said supply-chain issues getting electrical materials will push the opening back to the second week in December. Springboard will provide administration and fundraising for the shelter.
“Our contractor Nickle Electric has the problem solved, and they say they'll have all the wiring installed by Dec. 5,” he said.
Other work, including final grading, and installation of a deck and sidewalk for access to two self-contained bathrooms, still needs to be completed, Malone said.
Malone said a temporary, heated 20-by-32-foot tent will be erected for meal service. A 2,000-square-foot community building is planned to be constructed in spring 2023.
Already in place are two renovated mobile offices for staff and storage.
The village, with a waiting list of 60 even before it opens, is just a few hundred yards away from a homeless tent village in the woods. Malone said the priority is to get the village operational before the start of winter.
About the village
Each 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, two bathroom/shower units are part of the village.
Malone said meals will be provided by the First State culinary arts program.
All residents will be able to avail themselves of a multitude of services from various organizations, including First State, Georgetown Police Department, Georgetown Public Library, Department of Health and Social Services/Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health, Department of Labor/Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, La Red Health Center, Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, and Beebe Healthcare.
A staff of case workers, security personnel and operations personnel has been hired.
The property will be fence-enclosed with a main entrance, which will be monitored by staff during the day and by professional security overnight, and include an emergency entrance for fire trucks and EMS vehicles.
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.
Springboard is a nonprofit shelter and housing developer for people experiencing homelessness and those who are housing insecure.
Malone said the unsheltered population in the Georgetown area has reached a crisis. Temporary shelter in hotels or camping in the woods is not advantageous to people trying to get their lives back on track. “This village will provide a path back to self-sufficiency in safe, secure sleeping units,” he said.