Milford Gathers to Discuss on Solution of Proposed Tiny Home Village for Homeless

A proposal has been put forward in Milford for a village of tiny homes, similar to the one in Georgetown, to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness.

A public hearing regarding the plan proposed by the nonprofit organization Springboard Collaborative has been scheduled to take place at the upcoming Milford City Council meeting. The hearing is set to occur at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 22nd, at City Hall located at 201 S. Walnut St.

In a press release, Sara Bluhm, Milford economic development and community engagement administrator, stated that Springboard has made a request for the city to provide land for their project. However, if the location meets the necessary requirements, private land could also be considered.

According to Bluhm, Springboard will be responsible for providing all services, and there are no plans to use any city funds to support the project. The proposal for the tiny home village is currently under consideration and would need conditional use approval from the City Council. Additionally, another public hearing would be required to further discuss the matter.

Springboard Collaborative and Pallet Village

Springboard Collaborative, a non-profit organization, was established in Delaware in 2020. The organization drew inspiration from successful programs in Denmark and Finland that aim to provide housing for all and combat homelessness. Two sources that provide information on the “collective impact” method are the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the website of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

According to a recent survey conducted in February 2022, the state of Delaware reported a total of 2,369 individuals who were experiencing homelessness. This figure represents a significant increase compared to the numbers recorded in 2019, as reported by Springboard.

The nonprofit has set several goals:

  • Ensuring adequate housing for immediate emergencies and sustainable solutions for long-term housing needs.
  • Residents are being connected with essential services such as physical and mental health services, safety services, and food programs.
  • Residents are being connected with various education and employment opportunities, which include trade or professional training. The aim is to help them achieve self-reliance and reach their full potential.

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Judson Malone, from Georgetown, serves as the executive director and co-founder of the group. A consultant for the Howard Hughes Corp. in Columbia, Maryland, has played a key role in the development of a new master plan for Columbia’s underdeveloped core. He served as a member of the Baltimore chapter of the Urban Land Institute, taking on the role of chair for the Regionalism Committee. Additionally, he was responsible for organizing various regional planning workshops.

Malone did not respond to a comment request on January 19. Randall “R.L.” Hughes, the president of the Springboard Collaborative board, brings a wealth of experience to his role. With a background as an emergency management coordinator at Beebe Healthcare, former Georgetown police chief, state police officer, and deputy principal assistant at the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Hughes is well-equipped to lead the board.

In 2023, a nonprofit organization joined forces with the social purpose company Pallet to establish the Springboard Pallet Village in Georgetown. A village consisting of 40 cabins has been established on the property of the First State Community Action Agency, located behind the agency’s Georgetown headquarters.

Every cabin is equipped with heating and air conditioning, one or two beds, ample storage space, and a secure, lockable door. Partners have the option to share a room. Pets are allowed. A fenced-in village has been established, equipped with restrooms, showers, a building offering food service and offices, and is under constant surveillance by on-site security personnel.

The group’s website stated that Springboard Pallet villages aim to provide stability and support for individuals facing unsheltered homelessness and economic hardship in Delaware. These cabin dwellings are being hailed as a safe and comfortable stepping stone towards achieving lasting housing.

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