Guest Article

Pallet Village - Trish Hill
11/21/2023 Sussex County Health Coalition.

The Springboard Collaborative is a Delaware-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing homelessness through innovative solutions.

The Springboard Collaborative spearheaded the effort to create the Pallet Village in Georgetown.

The Pallet Village supports individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in Delaware that come from diverse backgrounds, including those grappling with mental health or substance use challenges and untreated health issues.

Their daily lives are characterized by the constant struggle to secure food, clean water, and sanitation, all while enduring harsh weather conditions, from freezing winters to scorching summers.

Homelessness inflicts severe trauma, leading to feelings of fear, hopelessness, and isolation. Nevertheless, the Pallet Village believes in the nationwide evidence demonstrating the potential to empower disadvantaged individuals to build better lives with the right resources and opportunities.

The village provides shelter and wrap around care coordination for $87 per day.

The Georgetown Pallet Village is a low barrier shelter, featuring forty individual sleeping cabins in a secure setting. Here, participants have access to comprehensive physical and mental healthcare, benefits navigation, comprehensive case management, job training, and other services, all facilitated by our coordinated care linkages.

What sets the Pallet Village apart is the inclusion of shared living spaces for partners, the accommodation of pets, and the provision of storage for possessions often lacking in traditional shelters. Each sleeping cabin includes heating, air conditioning, comfortable bedding, and secure storage. Bathhouses are on site for shower and restroom access. Pallet Village is staffed 24/7 to ensure round-the-clock security. Cleaning supplies, food, and personal care items are readily available at no cost through the on-site store. Construction is underway to provide expanded on-site office space for staff, a dedicated dining area for meals, a commercial kitchen, and flexible meeting spaces.

The Pallet Village is a secure area that allows residents the freedom to come and go as they wish while safeguarding against unwanted intruders. The strategic relocation of participants from hazardous, unsheltered campsites to a safe village environment has streamlined access and reduced costs for partner agencies providing critical healthcare, justice reentry, and social services. The journey toward stability and self-sufficiency at the Pallet Village begins with the creation of individualized life plans with tangible milestones  and metrics. At every step, Pallet Village navigators prioritize dignity, instill new competencies, and foster essential coping skills in a harm reduction approach, always with the utmost respect.