Unhoused residents across the state face discrimination, criminalization, and stigmatization. Housing is a human right for all residents.
Economic inequality, domestic violence, lack of mental health supports, lack of affordable housing, and an over-reliance on the charity model have created a large population of unhoused people across Delaware.
Housing must be accessible to all people—those experiencing mental health challenges, people with disabilities, individuals returning from prison, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and groups historically excluded from housing—specifically Black and Brown residents.
H.O.M.E.S. is demanding a housing first approach to ending homelessness in Delaware. We are fighting to decriminalize being homeless. We want to establish and enforce rights of the unhoused to live free of discrimination and stigmatization. We are demanding the creation of permanent, safe, and dignified housing for all.
POLICIES ON OUR 2023 AGENDA
PUBLIC STORAGE/LOCKERS FOR BELONGINGS
Provide storage space for individuals to store their belongings so they may job hunt, attend school, etc. without the worry of their belongings being stolen or having to carry them throughout the day.
BAN THE BOX ON ALL HOUSING APPLICATIONS
A fair chance ordinance is a law adopted by a local jurisdiction (usually a city or county) that creates rules that limit the use of criminal records by landlords when they are screening prospective tenants. The purpose of a fair chance ordinance is to reduce barriers that people who have had contact with the criminal justice system frequently face when they are looking for housing. Fair chance ordinances generally include rules limiting what types of criminal history landlords can consider and procedures that landlords have to follow when screening prospective tenants, as well as rules about how these requirements will be enforced.
MORATORIUM/REPEAL OF POLICIES, ORDINANCES AND LAWS THAT CRIMINALIZE DAILY ACTIVITIES (E.G. SLEEPING IN PUBLIC, SLEEPING IN VEHICLES, ETC.)
Despite a lack of affordable housing and shelter space, many cities have chosen to threaten, arrest, and ticket homeless persons for performing life-sustaining activities – such as sleeping or sitting down - in outdoor public space.Because people experiencing homelessness are not on the street by choice but because they lack choices, criminal and civil punishment serves no constructive purpose. Pass an ordinance that prohibits the criminimzalition of performing life-sustaining activites.
ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF HOUSING FOR UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH
Youth that experience housing instability/homelessness demonstrate difficulties in obtaining education, psychological well-being and are more likely to become adults experiencing homelessness. Support assessment and development of housing for this specific group.