ITNSouthern Delaware shutting down Feb. 28

February 3, 2023

On behalf of the ITNSouthernDelaware board of directors, it is with great sadness in our hearts that we inform you our nonprofit transportation cooperative will no longer be providing ride services to seniors 55-plus and adults with visual impairments throughout Sussex County.

We want to thank our supporters and appreciate all they have done for our organization over the last eight years. Through strong business partnerships, generous donations, grant funds, word of mouth and referrals, in less than five years ITN met its goal for fiscal sustainability and was continuing its upward trajectory. However, the pandemic was difficult. The extended hiatus of essential local partnerships, the need to employ paid drivers to compensate for a decline in volunteer drivers, and the stricter eligibility requirements and increased competition for grants and donations have all presented great challenges and severely restricted ITN’s ability to overcome the resulting hardships. 

Last July, the executive leadership of our national affiliate, ITNAmerica, proposed to reorganize ITNSouthernDelaware as an ITNCountry, a more flexible program developed for less urban areas like ours, by providing hands-on support. However, while locally we kept the business running, continued to provide rides, prepared for technological upgrades and brought together individuals interested in joining ITN at the board level, the future still remains uncertain. Therefore, in order to ensure we fully meet financial obligations to our members and others, our board made the decision to take timely steps toward closing the doors.

About 40% of our area’s population is 65-plus, higher than anywhere else in the country. Transportation alternatives for seniors throughout Southern Delaware are sparse. Local statistics indicate almost 40% of seniors’ doctor’s appointments rescheduled are due to lack of reliable transportation. Only 46% of seniors calling 9-1-1 are actually transported to the ER. Of those, only 20% require emergency medical services. And although seniors 65-plus on the road pose much less risk than drivers under 25, they are 16% likelier than drivers age 25-64 to cause an accident, and someone in an older driver’s car is 573% likelier than someone in an adult driver’s car to be killed!

With statistics like these, we absolutely know that nonprofit organizations like ours are greatly needed in Sussex and lower Kent counties, and support for these nonprofits is much less expensive than creating a comprehensive countywide transit system catering to seniors’ unique needs. Therefore, if another civic or government organization, any individual, or some other entity expresses an interest in taking over this much-needed nonprofit endeavor, we have resources that can help, and ITNAmerica is available to answer questions and provide guidance and support to make this happen. 

The tentative closing date is Feb. 28. If you have questions or know of an organization or individual interested in pursuing continuation of these vital services, call and leave a message at 302-448-8486. We will return your call or connect you with someone who can help you. For all inquiries after the closing date, there will be a voicemail greeting identifying alternative contact information. 

Again, we truly appreciate all the community’s support and we genuinely hope another organization or individual in our area will step up and take over these efforts. 

Nancy Feichtl, board of directors president
Janis Hanwell, board of directors vice president 


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