Welcome to the New Castle County Hope Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. The Mission of the New Castle County Hope Center, Inc. is to provide financial support to the New Castle County Hope Center. The Hope Center’s mission is to house and support individuals & families experiencing homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The other option for accessing emergency shelter (traditional shelter system) is by calling or texting: 1-833-FIND-BED (833-346-3233) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By way of history, the Hope Center was New Castle County’s response to the pandemic and provided much-needed additional safe, secure, non-congregate emergency shelter for Delaware’s most vulnerable. Purchase of the prior Sheraton Hotel occurred December 1, 2020, with the doors opening December 15, 2020, the day before the first nor’easter. We initially housed 73 street-level homeless under Delaware’s Code Purple Program operated by Friendship House and transitioned as the Hope Center social services anchor. On December 29, 2020, we began referrals from the Delaware Division of State Service Centers’ Emergency Hotel Voucher Program. The goal was to keep vulnerable populations safe from COVID-19 by providing shelter, however, the idea to provide onsite comprehensive services began to take root. We did not want to provide shelter, we wanted to offer a safe and stable environment coupled with resources and support to combat social constructs that bar many from getting back on their feet. This was the lifeblood that pumped through those involved with this project. Much like building an airplane while flying, many thought it radical thinking, we saw it as necessity. Homelessness is a barometer of social justice that reflects a serious problem in our society, and the solution IS within our grasp.
The metamorphosis from shelter to a life-changing hub of vital resources and social support for those experiencing homelessness is blossoming at the Hope Center. Working with community organizations, we offer onsite services and resources to those we serve in areas that are contributing factors to homelessness but on their own, the assistance may be lacking, unavailable, or daunting. Services include comprehensive and holistic behavioral health services through the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Bridge Clinic, primary care through Christiana Care’s Center for Hope and Healing, and case management through Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans. In addition, our partnerships allow guests access to Grab & Go meals, provided by Kings Table (if not connected to SNAP benefits), onsite assistance with emergency housing voucher renewals through Delaware Division of State Service Centers, assistance with benefits i.e., SNAP (food), purchase of care (childcare), etc. through Delaware State and Social Services (DSS), shuttle service 7 days a week to and from a major bus hub, provided by Grace Transportation, after-school programming for children provided by Let’s Grow, Act, Win and United Way, workforce development through Fair Chance, pet care through Faithful Friends, rental and utility assistance through Family Promise and our onsite Community Navigators (Delaware Housing Authority Grant) completing Delaware Housing Assistance Program applications.
The Hope Center operates by referral only. Most Hope Center referrals are through the Delaware Division of State Service Centers. We are excited to have expanded our referral network and currently receive referrals from the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans (as well as our social services anchor, they run a program for veterans and pay for 15 rooms), Christiana Care (with 5 rooms for those experiencing homelessness to achieve medical stability following care), Delaware Center for Justice (Reentry), Project New Start (Reentry), the Community Education Building Family Resource Center (houses charter schools), United Way, and Salvation Army (trafficking victims). The Hope Center works with Jewish Family Services to provide short-term housing to refugees, most recently from Ukraine. We have housed flood victims from Hurricane Ida and households displaced from an emergency building condemnation. We have 168 rooms that can be occupied and for most of 2021 and 2022, our occupancy hovered over 80 percent. This equates to a daily occupancy of 400 people, half of which were children under the age of 18. Having a hotel allows us to help when it is needed. We are starting an Academic Enrichment Program at the beginning of 2023 as well as bringing a consultant to assist with growth and funding and performance metrics.
As we build the Hope Center model from the ground up, it requires flexibility, versatility, and patience. We cannot allow “perfection to be the enemy of progress” Winston Churchill. For most of 2020/2021, our goal was keeping unhoused people safe from COVID-19, as we move away from that goal, people who enter the Hope Center are entering a program and are called “Participants”. Case managers engage at intake and provide support. Within 24 hours, Participants complete a housing assessment and exit strategy. We have learned through the Hope Center journey that households need at least 90 days to stabilize and secure housing. We are grateful to the Delaware Division of State Service Centers for their partnership through COVID-19 and commitment to the most vulnerable. As the Delaware Division of State Service Centers moves back to pre-pandemic support of $1200 per household or up to 24 days (based on a $50 per night rate at the Hope Center), our goal is to provide households a 66-day extension to have time and opportunity to utilize the onsite services, identify and address barriers, and carve their pathway to permanent housing. We are doing this through our “Extend a Stay” campaign. Please consider supporting this important campaign.
Individuals and families staying at the Hope Center non-congregate site will be offered services, including:
- COVID-19 Testing
- Medical and behavioral health services
- Prepared meals and laundry services
- Transportation by van and public transportation for those who have essential activities, such as a job or medical appointments.
- Case management and benefit assistance
- Housing navigation and development of an exit plan to permanent housing.
Due to public health concerns, prior to entering the building, all guests and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, guests are strongly encouraged to stay in their rooms. The Hope Center is part of Delaware’s Centralized Intake System and will operate by referrals only. As a result, walk-ins are not allowed.
For more information on the Hope Center, please email email@example.com.