1 out of 30 kids will experience homelessness this year in Delaware.
There are an estimated 3,500 individuals who experiencing homelessness each year in Delaware. Forty percent of all homeless in Delaware are members of a family experiencing homelessness. Resources exist for homeless individuals, less so for families.
The majority of families are turned away from traditional shelter due to gender restriction or size limitations. For example, a father with a teenage daughter will have to separate to receive shelter in most cases as most shelters are women or male only. Restrictions on family make-up also come into play. A family consisting of a grandmother, a son, and two grandchildren will often be turned away due to the family’s make-up (due to not being a traditional nuclear family). These restrictions place severe limitations on the shelter beds and homelessness services available to families, further exacerbating the problem of family homelessness.
There is a severe lack of beds/resources available to families experiencing homelessness. In late 2018, the RVRC shelter shut its doors, taking with it 65 emergency shelter beds and 30% of the beds available in Wilmington. The loss of these beds placed added pressure to serve homeless individuals, which further alienates families experiencing homelessness. At the same time as the RVRC closure, we opened the Hospitality Center – Family Promise has brought more shelter beds into the system at a time when overall beds were becoming much scarcer.
Family Promise is the only shelter in Delaware that has always accepted any family, no matter their size, make-up or composition. We are the gap in services for families experiencing homelessness. Our impact is apparent as we serve more families than any other provider in the state, as we served 44.9% of all homeless families experiencing homelessness last year.