Several community organizations have taken steps to make City Council aware of the homeless problem in Milford. In January the council agreed to create a task force that would be charged with addressing that problem.
The task force consists of Milford City Council members Dirk Gleysteen, Steve Johnson, Allen "Skip" Pikus and Katrina Wilson, as well as representatives from Circle of Light, Home of the Brave, People’s Place, Delaware State Services, Connections, Milford School District, Catholic Charities, local churches and other groups, as well as individual members of the community, as was previously reported.
An outgrowth of that group has been a working group – formed to collect data and brainstorm solutions. That group met for the first time on March 19. The meeting focused on cataloging what services already exist to support the homeless community.
“The working group is made up of people involved in homelessness on a day to day basis, we have an intimate knowledge of how the system works and doesn’t work,” said Linda Boone, who represents The Home of the Brave on the working group.
“What we are trying to do is compile a list the services that are available now, which will help us to go forward and find out how to close some of the gaps,” Wilson said.
The resources they looked at included: state services, People's Place, Home of the Brave, Circle of Light, the Milford School District and Milford area churches. The group also strategized about how to coordinate their efforts with those of Delaware Interagency Council on Homelessness and Delaware Homeless Planning Council.
“We are reviewing resources and creating summaries of all the services available,” said Dan Bond, who is the head of the working group. “We want to make sure that we have people from those organizations involved on the board.”
Bond said the working group hopes to have a report to present to City Council as quickly as possible, and that it should be ready by this summer.
“We want to give them time to prepare before next year’s critical time, which is winter,” said Boone. According to Boone one of the biggest priorities for the working group is to address the problem of homeless children in the area. As of January, the Milford School District was reporting 141 children as being considered homeless.
At the moment the working group is operating without a budget.
“It’s all volunteer,” said Boone. ”We care very much, we feel like this is important, we want to invest our resources. “
The next meeting of the Homeless Task Force Working Group will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Social Services annex building at 13 S.W. Front St. Meetings will be held every other Tuesday at the same time and location. All meetings are open to the public and will be posted on the City of Milford Web site a week in advance.