Our Transitional Housing program started in 1990 on Ash Wednesday when Friendship House and Westminster Presbyterian Church joined together to open Burton House, one of the earliest transitional housing programs in New Castle County. Burton House wasn't very impressive - just a two-bedroom apartment above the church garage where employed homeless men could live for free for 90 days while they saved their money and worked their program. It soon became obvious to everyone that the transition from one way of living to another was not that simple.
Most homeless folks are dealing with more than just the loss of housing. In a real sense they are displaced persons striving to figure out where they fit and how to rebuild their often broken lives. The transition is not just about a new job or a cheap place to stay. It is the process of healing old wounds, learning new skills and sometimes overcoming one's personal demons. People on such a journey need a safe, supportive home and a community of like-minded friends.
Learning from our residents, Friendship House has continued to expand and modify its transitional housing program. Today it consists of eleven different sites (six for women and five for men). Residents that complete the full program have received a year of subsidized housing, are able to eliminate a significant portion of their outstanding debt and can save up to $2,500. The most successful graduates also use their time in the program to continue their education, develop new life skills and advance their career.
Our Transitional housing provides a secure, supportive, home-like and respectful environment for those men and women ready to work hard on their issues through a rigorous and holistic program. We also offers each resident intensive case management and empowerment services. Through our four stage program men and women re-establish themselves as independent, self-supporting members of our society able to assume their responsibilities to their families, co-workers and friends.
Over 1,700 men and women have participated in the Transitional Housing Program. The vast majority have been dealing with addiction and relationship issues that have cost them their families, their jobs and even their freedom. Every one comes to the program wanting to work on their external issues: employment, fines, child support, bad credit, probation, etc. The men and women who make it are those with the courage and endurance to deal with their internal issues of recovery, self-esteem, relationships and personal beliefs. Some are now Friendship House staff. Many are our greatest success stories. Others have relapsed or returned to prison or died. Wherever they are on their journey, their lives and ours have been forever changed by our time together.
- Safe, supportive housing up to one year
- Stable environment in which mothers and children can be reunited
- Savings program
- Access to computer education
- Personal goal planning and money management
- Financial assistance for medical needs, employment purposes, individual counseling and debt-reduction
- Assistance to access local services, including independent housing
- Graduate after-care program to provide on-going support
Program Commitments required of Residents
- $25 security deposit due at time of move-in
- Savings and program payments based on income
- Food payments: $25/week per adult; $5 additional per week per child
- A desire to make changes in one’s life
- A commitment to address personal issues
- Honesty with self and others
- The ability to take responsibility for one’s own choices
QUALIFICATIONS FOR SERVICE: Positive recommendation from a residential recovery program and involvement in a daily program (employment or education)
Volunteer Meal Opportunities
Andrew’s Place Dinner: Every night of the year volunteers prepare a meal and bring it to our men staying at Andrew’s place for dinner at 720 N. Orange St, Wilmington. The volunteers serve and then eat with our men in a casual environment. The men are here as stage 1 of our transitional housing program. We have room for 22 men that are all in different stages of their life, some different stages of recovery, all hungry for taking the next step forward.
Epiphany House Dinner: Every Sunday – Friday evening volunteers prepare a meal and bring it to our women in stage 1 of housing located in Epiphany House, 722 Union Street, Wilmington. Our volunteers sit and eat dinner with the women and staff as a way to embrace family and friends of the community in a safe environment for women who are taking challenging steps forward on her road to rebuilding her life.
If you are interested in preparing a meal, review our meal preparation guidelines and then please call our office to sign up (302-652-8133) or fill out the Volunteer Application indicating your interest and dates and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcy Perkins, Director of Housing
Mary Ann Matarese, Assistant Director of Housing
Shirley Pritchett, Women's Housing Manager
Shawn Helmick, Women's Housing Manager
Ronnie Krier, Men's Housing
Gordon Umbreger, Men's Housing
Lawrence Cobbs, Men's Housing
720 N. Union St
Wilmington, DE 19805
PHONE: 302-428-0151 (Call for an appointment)