Shelter homeless families for Christmas

December 24, 2019

Much has been said this year about the reason for the Christmas season, and on this Christmas Eve, many thoughts will turn to a homeless family seeking shelter in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.

Now, in 2019, with the longest nights of the year upon us, homeless people and families who have long found shelter in Rehoboth Beach may find themselves out in the cold.

Immanuel Shelter volunteers have operated a Code Purple shelter in Rehoboth for the past 10 years, but now the shelter needs to find a new space.

In a recent letter to the editor, concerned citizen Don Peterson wrote, “In reality, all we need is one building where we can put down cots, serve hot meals, provide bathroom facilities and give the people who are part of our homeless community a few hours of respite to sleep and to get out of the cold,” calling upon our extensive faith community, nonprofits and civic groups to consider possible shelter locations. 

Just the day after the letter was printed, Delaware State Police Troop 7 announced its new Route 24 building is open, and its old building on Route 1 has closed.

As another letter writer suggested, is it possible this empty building could, for at least the next 90 days, help those among us who are without shelter?

As it turns out, local legislators Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, and Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, are already working together to turn the wheels of government a little faster so this can happen.

The building may need rehab to suit a new purpose; perhaps in the spirit of the season, our community could come together, as it has done so often in the past, to get the work done.

A community as fortunate as ours – in faith traditions and human compassion as well as in property values – will surely find a way to ensure those who seek shelter will find it.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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