The Springboard Collaborative (TSC) began its work in 2020 with a group of devoted community advocates looking to help those experiencing homelessness in Georgetown, Delaware, to find transitional housing and receive other needed services.
“By November 2020, we were writing grant requests and working with other organizations to bring a village of small modular homes to fruition,” said Judson Malone, Co-Founder, Director of Operations at TSC. “Since that time, we’ve been fortunate to receive a grant from the WSFS CARES Foundation, among others, which enabled us to acquire enough operating funds to hire staff for outreach efforts.”
Working with various companies, government agencies and fellow nonprofits, TSC was able to put its plan in place and get to work building temporary modular sleeping cabins that include beds, electricity, heating and air conditioning, windows and lockable doors for those experiencing homelessness.
“The town manager of Georgetown wrote an ordinance that helped enable our pilot program to get underway with parameters in place,” said Malone. “The town provided a $500,000 grant with American Recovery Plan Act funds to purchase the actual pallet cabins.”
After two years of hard work, the Georgetown pallet village officially welcomed its first residents to its 40 cabins in January 2023, offering a safe space to sleep as well as a variety of services for those in need. The village is one of more than 80 being used around the country to address homelessness, and on average 60% of participants achieve self-sufficiency within six months.
“Strengthening those in need is one of the key pillars of the WSFS CARES Foundation, and by working with organizations like The Springboard Collaborative we’re able to address key issues impacting our Communities,” said Patrick J. Ward, Executive Vice President at WSFS Bank and Chairman of the WSFS CARES Foundation. “We’re thrilled to see the village open and welcoming its first residents, and look forward to its success in providing vital housing and services.”
“Our focus is to provide a dignified, safe place to live for people who have been unsheltered,” said Malone. “Our village provides restrooms and showers, offices for mental health and addiction services, job training, vocational rehab, and more. We want to get people out of an inhumane life on the streets and provide the housing and resources they need to get back on their feet.”
Working with First State Community Action Agency among others, TSC has provided health screenings and other wrap-around services, as well as serving a hearty breakfast and lunch each Sunday to those in need in the area.
With the exception of the grant received from Georgetown, most funds to support the village and TSC have come from private organizations like WSFS, with support from other nonprofits as well.
“This grant is our first time working with WSFS, and those funds have helped greatly with operating expenses as we get up and running. We are very appreciative of WSFS,” said Malone. “We also wouldn’t exist without Mike Rawl and Horizon Philanthropic Services’ help. This has been an incredibly complex project and Mike has been instrumental with helping us work with organizations on grants.”
“Horizon Philanthropic Services has provided consulting and campaign management to Delaware nonprofits for 22 years,” added Rawl. “We deeply value our partnership formed with WSFS for Springboard, as well as the Sussex Montessori School, Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding, Sussex Academy and other worthwhile projects over the years.”
With the village now up and running, providing vital shelter and services, TSC plans to track its progress in helping those experiencing homelessness in order to expand the program in the future.
“We plan to track data on the village’s progress, show its success, and hopefully have the state begin funding additional villages following the model implemented in other states to provide additional housing and services to those in need,” said Malone.
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