Future brightens for homeless shelter
With donations from residents and leadership from our local legislators, it appears solutions have been found to provide temporary shelter for our region’s homeless people.
The closing of Immanuel Shelter’s Code Purple shelter at Faith United Methodist Church fellowship hall days before Christmas threatened to leave many who sought shelter out in the cold. But shelter supporters and volunteers did not turn away from the need. They did not give up. Using funds raised through donations, they are providing hotel rooms to house people in need.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, and Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, are cutting through red tape to make the recently vacated Delaware State Police Troop 7 building on Route 1 available for use as a temporary shelter. The building has to be inspected by the fire marshal, which is expected as early as Jan. 7.
The building already has facilities needed to serve homeless people, including sufficient space for men and women as well as bathrooms and showers. This location also offers access to buses and shopping, with a grocery store nearby.
The somewhat rancorous closure of the old shelter, which had been housed in the same building for years, may, in the end, be a blessing. Faced with no shelter, Immanuel Shelter volunteers and Lighthouse for Broken Wings’ Toni Short collaborated to find other solutions, working throughout the holiday season to find emergency beds while at the same time looking at other options. Setting aside disappointment and distrust about losing the old building, these volunteers deserve high praise for quickly changing course and solving problems. Their next task may be finding volunteer workers to retrofit the building.
Besides work that still must be done, this solution is temporary, intended to see everyone through the winter. No permanent decisions have been made.
Still, even a temporary shelter provides time to work out the details of sheltering people next winter. We are fortunate to live among people who care enough about others, and have the persistence and determination to work together to find a permanent solution.