Category Archives: Newsletters

A Letter from our Executive Director

Next year I will celebrate ten years of employment with this amazing organization. Although the journey is often described as a marathon and not a sprint, I feel like we have been running a marathon coupled with sprints, hurdles, high jumps, long jumps (and maybe even occasional javelin or discus throwing) the past couple of years. What will next year look like? Although I can’t say for certain, one thing I know for sure is we will remain your beloved and trusted organization to help every Delawarean find their way home.
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We have worked hard to set ourselves up the best we can for 2023 – a year that likely will include higher prices and bills; a year with a possible recession; a year without enough housing to meet the needs of our community. None of this is a surprise, and it won’t be easy to navigate. As we entered this year, FH has the most locations than we have ever had. We have the most donors and volunteers than any other year prior. We are breaking records of people served. And we have the most love and support to offer than ever before.
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This year, you can expect the same great level of service to our community as we discern what gaps still need to be filled. You can expect us to continue to address the inequities of those who are experiencing homelessness, houselessness, or are financially struggling to make ends meet. You can expect us to keep questioning, where will we find additional housing options for our community? And you can expect us to do it with tremendous respect, grace, acceptance, compassion, and love. Please journey with us as we continue to do what we do best: unite people facing homelessness with loving, supportive communities they can call home. 
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Kim, Executive Director

Saturday Morning Hospitality

During the winter months of December through February, FH opens every Saturday morning at First & Central Presbyterian Church for hospitality to create a space for people in Wilmington to visit. This makes it so FH does morning hospitality 7 days a week, as we are open year-round Sunday morning for a grab-n-go breakfast at our Wilmington Empowerment Center located at Sts. Andrew and Matthew Episcopal Church. Hospitality is an important part of our Empowerment Center programming. It includes basic things like coffee, water, and access to a bathroom. It also includes another critical item: community. Hospitality at any FH location is sometimes the only time during the day a person will feel accepted and someone is happy to see them enter the door.
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To a person living on the street or at a shelter in Wilmington, there are very few options on weekends as many coffee shops and places of business are closed. Libraries and other public places are also closed in the early mornings when the temperatures are the coldest. Folks staying in a shelter often need to be out by 7:00 am. In late December and early January especially, it is still dark at 7 am – and the hour before dawn is often the coldest hour of the day. FH fills the gap by opening for coffee and breakfast, creating a brief but needed safe haven for people experiencing homelessness and houselessness.
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We’re grateful for our partnership with First & Central Presbyterian Church to make this possible!

Code Purple

For many Delawareans, Dec 23 was a Friday filled with finishing work before a long weekend, running last-minute holiday errands, or journeying to visit family or friends. Throughout the hustle and bustle of the day, you may have noticed a 45 degree drop in temperature. The morning started at a rainy 57 degrees and ended at 12 degrees with a feels like temperature of -8. This may have meant grabbing a heavier coat for evening plans, planning to Uber or drive instead of walk, or choosing to stay in all together. For someone experiencing homelessness and living on the street, however, proper planning for nights this cold can be the difference between life and death.
For Friendship House (FH), we are prepared to offer a warm, safe place for those experiencing homelessness on nights like this through our emergency shelter program, Code Purple, which is enacted when temperatures fall below 20 degrees in New Castle County. This life-saving program offers overnight shelter for anyone experiencing homelessness or houselessness. Over the weekend of Dec 23, which happened to be the weekend of Christmas, FH called Code Purple for 3 nights in a row. 
Frances, who utilized Code Purple over the holiday weekend shared, ”It’s a warm place. The food is good, I love the food!’ Frances has utilized our programs for about 5 years now. She also noted she enjoys seeing familiar faces, meeting new friends and feels Code Purple is a community. Dana, a long-time FH visitor, said “It’s awesome!” when asked about Code Purples. Dana also noted he enjoys the environment of Code Purples and the feel of togetherness.
This is why we do what we do, for people like Frances and Dana, so they can stay alive to see another day. 
We are so grateful for our loving, supportive community who make this program possible. We can only run this program because of our dedicated volunteers and faith community partners who continue to open their doors for people experiencing homelessness in order to feel togetherness. There will be more Code Purples to come this winter. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to us by emailing volunteer@friendshiphousede.org.

Yes, We Can Help!

I first met Robert (featured in this Newsletter) when he arrived at the New Castle County Hope Center. Robert is a very kind, loving man. He made many friends while at the Hope Center – from staff to other residents there. It was easy to see this, even underneath the immense fear and anxiety he was feeling as he experienced homelessness. It is overwhelming to be in a position where you need to rely on a shelter system. And, unfortunately, wrought with judgment. At FH, we prioritize seeing the person underneath the fear and pain, and leave judgment aside. Our goal with all of our programming is to help someone feel grace, acceptance, respect, compassion and love any time they are in our presence. The most important thing to us is every person knows they matter. Every person deserves to love, be loved and feel loved.

This makes FH unique in how we approach working with people in our community. We truly believe loving someone also means believing the person coming to us for services deserves every opportunity to choose their own path forward, name their own goals, and be an active part of the journey forward. Our staff often share what a relief it is to work for an organization that so frequently says “yes, we can help.”

We said yes a lot this year. We said yes to 14 households who lost their housing overnight due to a neglectful landlord in Wilmington by providing necessary funding to fill a severe gap. We said yes when we purchased a new house for women who work at our Clothing Bank exiting incarceration and do not have a safe place to live. We said yes when we partnered with the Delaware State Service Centers to support over 400 households losing their emergency housing pandemic funding, which officially made us a statewide agency. We said yes by giving more than 10,000 clothing items to schools for students who needed additional help to meet the schools’ dress code. We worked with 150 people to break down legal issues preventing them from accessing housing and employment – saying yes, we can help while saying no to the injustices of fees placed on people who cannot afford to pay them. We said yes to assisting 2,000 people stay housed by helping them fill their income gap by paying necessary rent or utility bills.

Now, we need you to say yes. This kind of work does not happen without your support. 100% of our funding comes from you – individual donors, business owners, faith communities, foundations: loving, supportive people who care about their community. Please consider an end of year donation to Friendship House so we can continue helping people find their way home. Through your donation you are lovingly saying yes to someone in your community.

Kim, Executive Director

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