Family Promise of Southern Delaware hosted its second annual Night Without a Bed event Oct. 21 at Lewes Canalfront Park to raise funds and awareness of the plight of the homeless in the area.
Participants from local youth and church groups, ages 12-16, and their adult chaperones slept outside in tents to simulate the experience of being homeless. Prior to the event, the teens encouraged family and friends to donate to Family Promise of Southern Delaware.
Commenting on the event, board President Dale Smith said, “Family homelessness is a national crisis. This was true long before the pandemic, but now, as a result of the past two years, and the health and economic challenges we are facing, even more families with children are at greater risk of experiencing homelessness.”
The local group, formed in 2019, is an affiliate of the national Family Promise organization, which started in New Jersey 30 years ago. The organization’s purpose is to unite faith-based and other community groups in efforts to prevent homelessness through financial support, lodging and hospitality, and support for families with children suffering housing issues.
So far in 2022, Family Promise of Southern Delaware has assisted 22 households with 29 adults and 54 children by helping to pay overdue rent, getting utilities turned back on, and providing funds to pay first month’s rent and security deposits. They also provide food assistance, clothing and furniture donations, and referrals to health and wellness programs.
It’s been a big year for the organization. In June, Lewes Mayor and Council provided $60,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds and in July, the Cape Henlopen School District announced a partnership with the group and they hired their first executive director, Carolyn Kelly.
For more information or to make a donation, go to familypromisesouthernde.org.