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The Springboard Collaborative works with Conley's United Methodist Church on transitional housing

Conley's United Methodist Church
Conley's United Methodist Church
Conley's United Methodist Church

A Sussex County church is considering placing temporary, transitional housing on its property.

The proposal comes from the nonprofit - The Springboard Collaborative - which wants to put 16 modular units, each about 100-square-feet in size, on the Conley United Methodist Church property in Lewes.

The collaborative’s executive director Judson Malone says this proposal is different than one presented recently in Georgetown.

"We are focusing at Conley’s on families with children," said Malone. "And a recent survey of that population in Delaware showed two things:  one, it is the fastest rising population in the State and it was particularly impacted by COVID. The other thing about this population is that it is predominantly single women with one or two children.” 

Conley’s pastor, Rev. Bill Davis, welcomes the opportunity.

“At Conley’s we’ve been involved in administering to the homeless before - for years," said Rev. Davis. "So we’re aware that this is a problem in our area. This is a growing humanitarian crisis that I think calls for a compassionate response from the church and the community. It has been a tough year or two for everybody and there were people who were already on the edge prior to the pandemic.”

Malone says these units would feature several amenities.

“They air conditioning," Malone said. "They have heat. They are upgraded for colder temperatures here - as opposed to say California for example. And it has electrical service so people can re-charge their phones and power other devices. And it meets all fire and safety codes.”

Malone says other units would provide restrooms, including showers and washers and dryers. A community center would also be set up on church property.

If the church and the nonprofit reach an agreement, they would still need a conditional-use permit from Sussex County.

That would include public hearings before both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Sussex County Council.

You can get more information at The SpringBoard Collective website.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.