The Home of the Brave Foundation hopes to open a new homeless women’s veteran’s shelter by this winter, says Jessica Finan, Executive Director of the organization. The group has operated a homeless shelter for men on Sharp’s Road in Milford for more than 20 years, and has been attempting to open a female veteran’s shelter for some time.
“The Home of the Brave Foundation is in negotiations with God’s Way to Recovery to lease a property which will be used to establish a female veteran’s transitional living facility,” said Ms. Finan. “The property is located at 9 Causey Avenue and was used by God’s Way to Recovery as a male transitional living facility. There are no modifications needed to the home because it is already up to code for a transitional living facility.”
Once negotiations are completed, Home of the Brave hopes to sign a lease as soon as this fall, and welcome the first homeless female veteran by the winter. Fundraising efforts are underway to ensure a successful launch of the first female veteran’s shelter in Delaware. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that 23 percent of all homeless are veterans, and that of that percentage, four percent are female. According to the Veteran’s Administration, between 2009 and 2010 homeless female veterans in shelters increased 19 percent, while transitional housing saw an increase of 48 percent.
In March 2013, the foundation petitioned the Sussex County Board of Adjustments for a special use exception for a home they purchased on Griffith Lake Road in Milford. The Board of Adjustments granted a two-year approval for the shelter, but limited the number of occupants to eight, including children. In May 2013, the Home of the Brave announced plans to seek a different location for the women’s shelter due to the restrictions placed on the Griffith Lake Road property.
Since the Causey Avenue property provided transitional housing for God’s Way to Recovery, the property meets all zoning requirements necessary to open transitional housing for homeless female veterans. Home of the Brave plans to start a two-year pilot program in the home, and say that the home is rated for eight occupants. During the two-year pilot period, the organization will assess the need to accept children into the facility as well.
“Reverend Roger Wood and Carrie Wood of God’s Way to Recovery were hoping that another non-profit agency would lease the facility to continue to provide services to the homeless,” said Ms. Finan. “This will simply be a landlord/tenant lease agreement with that organization, however, not a partnership.”