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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: February 7, 2013


NEW CASTLE (February 7, 2013) - Nine nonprofit organizations from across the state will receive 550 blankets Friday, Feb. 8, to distribute to people who are homeless in Delaware. This effort is being led by the Division of State Service Centers (DSSC), with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Under the leadership of Dr. Anne Farley, the Division of State Service Centers has sought ways that state programs could collaborate to better serve the community and meet the needs of underserved populations. This vision prompted two state workers to join forces and come up with the idea of distributing blankets. The nonprofit organizations will distribute the blankets to homeless populations they serve across the state.

"What we are doing is providing a resource," said Robert Broesler, Senior Administrator in the Office of Community Services. "It is the agencies who work day-to-day with people who are homeless who will distribute these blankets." The Homeless Planning Council of Delaware estimates there are about 6,000 people in the state who are homeless throughout an entire year.

With northern Delaware now forecast to get 2-5 inches of snow from a "potentially historic" blizzard beginning Friday and a coastal flood watch issues for Kent and Sussex counties, the distribution of the blankets could be especially timely. The blankets - manufactured by Northwest Woolen Mills, - are the same quality as those provided to members of the U.S. military. The blankets also are made specifically for disaster relief and homelessness, and are 100 percent wool, flame retardant, water proof and perfect for all seasons and climates.

"When people think of blankets for the homeless they assume someone wrapping themselves up and sleeping in the park," said Joe Hickey, Executive Director, St. Patrick's Center in Wilmington. "These blankets will benefit those living in all types of homeless situations - be it a shelter or respite care. These blankets will be providing them with something that is their own, giving them a little dignity."

Blankets will be distributed to the nine organizations (listed below) from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, from a warehouse on the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services' Herman Holloway Campus near New Castle. In turn, the organizations must distribute the blankets to people who are homeless within seven days. If you know someone who is in need of a blanket, please contact one of the organizations in your area.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.