A Sanctuary In Time Of Need
302-652-8278 • fax: 302-652-8641
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Finding oneself physically homeless is seldom the result of one unfortunate incident.It is usually the culmination of a series of external circumstances and internal life choices that have been building to a breaking point for some time. Just as Home means more than physical shelter, losing one’s Home is a life experience with wide-ranging consequences. Besides physical shelter, Home is also the place where we belong; it is our circle of family and friends; it is where we develop a sense of identity and community. Having a home provides us with privacy, security, accessibility to resources and the ability to network with others. Having my own home gives me the freedom to maintain an independent lifestyle – to decide where I will live, what I will eat, when I will go to bed, with whom I will share my days. When any of us lose a piece of Home, we temporarily become a displaced person. Life seems out of order; our old patterns of living no longer fit; we are challenged to put the pieces back together and create a new sense of Home. Re-integrating our lives after such an experience is a painful and challenging task. When this experience includes the loss of one’s possessions and personal space, the recovery process is even more daunting.
Since it first opened its doors twenty-five years ago, Friendship House has walked with thousands of homeless, displaced persons on their road back to independent, self-sufficient lives. This experience has taught its staff and volunteers important lessons about the nature of homelessness, recovery and community..
The first important lesson to learn is that you need to survive before you can recover. If you have exhausted your economic resources, if your problems are more than you can handle on your own, if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, you need to humble yourself and accept the help that is available. In New Castle County, there is a network of homeless ministries that provide those in need with food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Because these ministries are serving a large population, they cannot usually personalize their services to each individual client. Quite simply, if you want the help, you need to play by their rules.
The second important lesson is that recovery takes time. If you really want to put your life back in order and not simply stick a finger in the latest leak in the dike that is your survival network, you need to be motivated, honest, patient and dedicated. Motivation means that a person takes personal responsibility for his or her own recovery; I make it happen rather than waiting for the world to change. Honesty means a willingness to speak the whole truth to yourself and the people that are trying to help you. A person in recovery mode needs to stop telling people what he or she thinks that they want to hear. Patience means that a person sets realistic goals for themselves. No one can do everything at once. People in recovery need to set priorities and address their issues in stages. Lastly, Dedication means that a person recognizes that to accomplish one’s goals, he or she must give them the time and energy that they demand. There are no shortcuts to recovery.
The last important lesson is that everyone recovers in their own way and at their own paces. Regarding life recovery programs, there is " no one size fit all". What worked for you may not work for me. There is a broad enough variety of life recovery resources available in New Castle County that most people committed to addressing their issues and getting back on their feet can find a program that is right for them. Like the survival resources, however, most life recovery programs have their own structure and style of ministry. Just as you are not required to join their program, they are not required to customize their program to fit your personal preferences. Just as one needs to find the program that fits, so too one needs to accept that his or her life-recovery journey is going to take as long as it takes. There may be several missteps on that journey. Someone may become impatient with themselves or the process and relapse into self-destructive life choices. Others may do everything right, being totally committed to their programs and still get knocked down by something beyond their control. If one learns from it, no life experience is a loss. Sometimes one learns more from a mistake than from a success. If this is the first or the hundredth time that a person finds himself or herself a homeless and displaced person, they should not lose faith in the value of their life and their ability to achieve their dreams. THE TIME IS NOW. Learn from the past, but don’t brood on it. Believe in the future, but live in today and make it happen.For Whom Was This Guide Written:
While Homeless Resource Guide is primarily a manual for Friendship House staff and volunteers, it is available to anyone that may find its contents helpful. This includes the parish staff and lay ministers of Friendship’s House’s sponsoring faith communities. Copies of the FH Resource Guide can be downloaded from the Friendship House website (www.friendship-house.org) or are available through the Friendship House office (302-652-8133). Please be aware that, as community resources are constantly changing, the resources listed on each resource guide can quickly become dated. For this reason, at the bottom of each resource page is the last time it was updated.
While homeless individuals can use this resource guide to implement their own recovery strategy, most will find it helpful to collaborate with an experienced case manager from any of the various homeless services agencies listed in this guide. The Friendship House Men’s Center is located at 226 N Walnut St in Wilmington and is open weekdays from 6:00 A.M. to noon. The Friendship House Women’s Center is located at 720 N. Orange St and is open weekdays from 6:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. The Friendship House Newark Empowerment Center is located at 69 E Main St in Newark and is open weekdays from 1:00 – 4:00 PM.
How To Use This Guide:
The Friendship House Resource Guide is divided into five parts:
a set of assessment worksheets that
1. gather basic personal information,
2. identify immediate survival needs
3. link survival needs to action steps and resources
4. help clients inventory their economic, social and personal assets and liabilities
5. Set life recovery goals and action steps
Part II is set of resource pages, supplying the person with the information needed to implement his or her chosen actions. Some are pathways to vital survival needs (Shelter, Food, Clothing, Medical Needs, etc.). Others are more geared to helping clients access the resources needed to implement their life recovery strategy.
Part III is an agency directory of primary providers of homeless services.
Part IV is a listing of the principal homeless service providers in New Castle County.