Under the normal run of things, Home of the Brave is a place where Delaware’s homeless veterans can find shelter until they get back on their feet.
But these days are not the normal run of things, and the Milford-based organization has found itself with plenty of beds available and no one able to come in to stay.
Executive Director Jessica Finan said Home of the Brave is considered an essential business during the COVID-19 crisis, so it is still operating, but with a skeleton crew on all sides.
“We have not taken anyone in since March 20 due to a lack of testing,” she said.
The complex on Sharps Road off Route 1 has a house for women and a house for men, typically staffed by 13 workers. Those who are working in the facility have been wearing masks during the crisis. Finan said at this point, four staff members, herself included, are working from home, while the rest are working in shifts, as there is no effective way for everyone to be in the same place and effectively practice social distancing.
Finan said Home of the Brave has been in contact with public health officials about ways to bring veterans in, but the organization has not been able to acquire more than two to five tests. One potential idea was to provide vouchers for hotels to potential veterans to allow them to quarantine for 14 days before being allowed in.
Finan said two beds for male veterans are open and seven more beds are available for women, a total that will soon go up as two men and one woman are set to leave in the coming weeks. She said the other major struggle the organization faces is a lack of supplies such as milk, bread and toilet paper, as private donations, church donations and grants have largely disappeared.
Home of the Brave is not fully funded even during normal times, Finan said, getting a portion of its funding through grants from the Veterans Administration and the state. She said she has applied for funding through the Delaware Community Foundation’s Fund for Women.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so through Home of the Brave’s Facebook page. To donate supplies, call 302-424-1681.