Shelter from the storm

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Good afternoon,

The successful effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine is known as  Operation Warp Speed.

The same term could be used for the fast-track effort by New Castle County to purchase the Sheraton South Hotel off Interstate 95 for use as housing for the homeless for $19.5 million.

Money came from the federal CARES Act, with the former owners of the hotel managing the site.

The county gained a windfall from the CARES Act that has flowed into a number of programs that include business grants and Covid-19 testing.

Under CARES provisions, counties with half a million residents secured hundreds of millions of dollars under the assumption that the units of government operate their own public health, corrections, and social service departments.  In Delaware, the state handles those areas.

In a social media post linked to a Delaware Public Media story, County Executive Matt Meyer said the hotel has now taken in 70 homeless people on the eve of a nor’easter that likely brings high winds an

Located in an isolated area along, Interstate 95, the former Sheraton is part of a national trend to use hotel space as the homeless population grows due to the devastating impact of Covid-19.

The location was not ideal, since it is some distance from DART  transit routes. Worse yet, it is hemmed in by the interstate, a flood-prone creek, and a meager amount of high ground suitable for a brisk walk.

The marshy area and tricky access had long been a drag on occupancy at the hotel, despite its full-service format.

The county plans to use meeting, dining, and banquet space to help homeless residents obtain services and move into permanent housing.

Stay safe and as Meyer reminds us, if you know someone in need of shelter in Delaware, call 1-833-FIND-BED. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer

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