New Efforts Announced In Delaware Challenge To End Veteran Homelessness

New Castle, DE – Today in New Castle, Governor Markell joined other officials and partners for a meeting of the state working group on the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness where they announced several new efforts in the statewide effort to end veteran homelessness.  These initiatives build on progress so far that has resulted in housing for 140 homeless veterans since January.

New Initiatives to end Veterans homelessness in Delaware:

100-day Statewide Challenge:  The state is launching a statewide 100-day challenge to permanently house 96 homeless Veterans, starting October 23 and ending with the annual Point in Time study in late January 2016. The Point in Time study is the process by which Veteran homelessness is measured nationally each year.  The goal is to build momentum and focus statewide energy in the final months of the effort to end Veteran homelessness in Delaware.

Veterans Count Outreach Event (November 10-12, 2015): A key part of ending Veteran homelessness is demonstrating that all homeless Veterans have been identified, including those not actively seeking assistance.  Veterans Count Delaware is a state-wide outreach effort that will take place during a 3-day period, including November 11, Veterans Day. Volunteers are needed to help with this initiative.

Landlord Recruitment: Landlords interested in renting to Veterans, especially landlords who are willing to be flexible on credit, criminal background, and similar requirements to help Veterans who are turning their lives around, are needed. Concerted landlord outreach efforts, including new Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with a call for landlords to participate, and awards for organizations and landlords permanently housing the most homeless Veterans.

Last year, HUD, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National League of Cities called on mayors across the country to make a commitment to end Veteran homelessness in their cities in 2015. On any given night, 100 Veterans in Delaware are homeless.

After announcing his intent to end homelessness among Veterans in Delaware within a year in his State of the State Address, in May 2015, Governor Markell unveiled the State’s plan to achieve this goal and signed on to the national Challenge.

The plan called for actions including: identifying Veterans who are currently homeless or at a high risk of homelessness; improving connections and coordination between Veteran-specific and mainstream resources; and long-term changes to ensure that Veterans who may face homelessness in the future are connected to the resources they need quickly and effectively. The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) also created 20 rental assistance vouchers dedicated to Veterans through the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP), which provides integrated community housing with supportive services.

A state working group brings together key state and federal partners and representatives from local committees on a monthly basis to steer and monitor progress on the statewide effort. All three counties in Delaware, the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Seaford, Georgetown, Bridgeville, Greenwood, and Blades have also signed on. Local groups are working in all three counties on direct outreach and community mobilization. On any given night, 100 Veterans in Delaware are homeless. Together, 140 Veterans have been permanently housed as of September 2015.

Governor Jack Markell stated, “I am proud of Delaware’s progress towards ending Veteran homelessness.  We committed to the challenge, developed a plan, built the partnerships, and are off and running just since earlier this year. Together, we have housed 140 homeless Veterans since January 2015. There is more to be done to finish the job, and we’ve set a goal to help 96 more Veterans over the next 100 days. Like the entire Challenge, this is an ambitious target, but the goal is a critical one, and worthy of pushing our expectations of what we can achieve.”

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi stated, “Delaware is one of only eight states who have risen to this Challenge. Like other communities, we intend to change the misperception that veteran homelessness is a problem that cannot be solved. To reach our goal, we need to be sure we have reached every homeless Veteran, and we need landlords willing to be a part of the team helping homeless Veterans. Supportive services and rental assistance from community providers help Veterans get back on their feet, but difficulty locating and being approved for rental housing is often a primary barrier.”

Landlords! Help us help our Vets! (video PSA below)

Governor Jack Markell

Senator Tom Carper


Governor Announces Executive Order to Increase Pedestrian Safety and Walkability

Council will help set pedestrian infrastructure priorities to make paths safer and better connected

Wilmington, DE – Building on his initiative to make Delaware a more walkable and bikeable state, Governor Markell today announced an Executive Order to increase safety, accessibility, and connectedness of pedestrian paths throughout the state. E.O. 54 establishes the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness, which will bring together key members of state agencies, local government representatives, as well as non-profit and citizen advocates to support and make recommendations on issues such as:

  • Identifying and fixing gaps in pedestrian paths and sidewalks;
  • Designing crosswalks, sidewalks, and pathways in the most effective way possible and ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Reviewing traffic rules to support a safe pedestrian environment; and
  • Developing strategies for pedestrian safety education and awareness.

Full text of Executive Order 54 is available here.

The Council’s work will add to the success of the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative, which is creating more than 50 miles of new trails and has raised Delaware’s bike-friendly ranking from 31st to 3rd in the nation. The initiative has helped link communities and existing paths through interconnected pathway networks, as well as create and maintain “complete streets” that promote safe access for all types of transportation.

In issuing E.O. 54, Markell also noted the responsibility of the state to address the number of pedestrian fatalities, of which there have been 26 so far in 2015.

“We have made tremendous progress in making our transportation system more effective for everyone, and I’m proud that we have paid more attention than ever before to walking and biking,” said Markell. “Improving walkability raises the quality of life in our communities, which in turn makes them more attractive places to live and work, while also increasing property values. I am asking the Pedestrian Council to revisit Delaware’s Statewide Pedestrian Action Plan last updated in 2007, and to report to me their findings and recommendations and to help catalyze further improvements.”

DelDOT, which has recently undertaken many major projects aimed at pedestrian use, will provide expert staff and support to the Council.

“This Council has a vital role to play in helping the state to focus on these issues and ensure our work is prioritized most effectively,” said DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan. “We have made a lot of improvements in the last few years, but we know there is a lot of ground to cover and our mission to ensure Delaware is the most walkable state in the country never ends. I look forward to the opportunity to work with other safety and mobility advocates statewide to better identify how we can meet the needs and priorities for serving pedestrians and prevent future tragedies.”

Projects recently completed or now underway include:

  • The installation of a pedestrian‐hybrid beacon at the intersection of DE Route 8 and Heatherfield Way
  • Upgrades to pedestrian facilities including crosswalks and pedestrian signals at 28 intersections.
  • Installation of sidewalks, crosswalks, new signals and lighting in the SR 1 corridor between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.

Included in areas that Cohan has identified for improvements are many suburban areas where families are dependent on motor vehicles for almost every activity, or in some cases take unacceptable risks in walking along or crossing our roads. In addition, too many exiting sidewalks include barriers to those with disabilities, while others begin and end without making important connections that would provide safe pedestrian routes for students, transit users, shoppers, seniors and others likely to include walking as a mobility choice. Motorists and pedestrians also must have a better understanding of Delaware laws.


Small Grants Help Revitalize Downtown Dover

New round of funding announced for Downtown Development District program

Dover, DE – Joined by officials from the City of Dover and Kent  County, Governor Markell and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi today recognized the first recipients of small project grants that were made available through the Governor’s Downtown Development District (DDD) initiative. These grants were made available to support key investments of up to $250,000 one of the three current DDDs – Dover, Seaford, and Wilmington.

“The purpose of the DDD initiative is to accelerate revitalization in areas marked by issues like high poverty, high unemployment, and low homeownership,” said Governor Markell. “By leveraging state and local resources with the entrepreneurialism of private investors, the goal is to provide the extra boost needed to make great economic development opportunities a reality. In doing so, we can help turn these distressed areas into vibrant downtowns that attract talented people, innovative small businesses, and long-term residents.”

Today’s announcement, which follows the awarding of $5.6 million for projects investing more than $250,000, recognized John and Karen Marble, and Carmen Hardcastle, for their effort to improve the homeownership inventory in the Dover DDD.  Mr. and Mrs. Marble constructed a new home on a vacant lot on Mary Street in Dover, while Ms. Hardcastle rehabbed an existing home on N. Kirkwood Street.  These two awards are part of $1 million set aside for smaller projects in each of the DDDs.

Governor Markell and Director Ben Addi also announced the launch of the second round of funding for the program, making $8 million available for investments in the previously designated areas of Wilmington, Dover and Seaford.  Funds will be made available to support rehabilitation, expansion or new construction of commercial, industrial, residential (including multi-family), and mixed-use buildings or facilities located within the boundaries of a DDD.

“The City of Dover and Kent County have both been tremendous partners in the DDD effort and we thank them for their ongoing support,” added DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.  “Small projects, like the ones completed by the Marbles and Ms. Hardcastle, help to keep families living in, and contributing to, the economies of our downtown areas. We want to continue to streamline the process so as many people as possible can access these funds to support investment in the downtown areas and encourage growth.”

Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Brad Eaby commented, “I am a firm believer that today’s challenges are best solved through the combined efforts of the government, the private sector and nonprofit organizations.  Our collective assets and wisdom can be harnessed to conquer the task at hand. DDD’s are a prime example of this approach.”

“We are really excited that the first three projects in Dover address three different goals of our district: new housing stock, renovation of existing housing stock, and restoration of an historic building for a new business,” noted Tim Slavin, City of Dover Council President. “And we know this is just the beginning. With the DDD program and the commitment of the City and its partners, we know we have a recipe for long-term success.”

DDD Grant recipient John Marble said, “Downtown Dover has always had a special place in our hearts. Whether it be our leadership and participation in Sidewalk Sunday School or the board of directors for Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, we feel that participation in these various groups is an excellent way to turn the tide downtown. But most of all, it all boils down to the private sector investing and engaging with the various conflicts and challenges posed.”

DSHA has established two funding set-asides for DDD Grant Awards, one for small projects with an investment of less than $250,000, and another for investors of over $250,000. The Reservation applications for both Large Projects and Small Projects are available online. Projects seeking a Large Project reservation must apply by December 1, 2015. Small Project reservations and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis as long as funding remains available.

For more information about the Downtown Development District Grant Program, please visit or call 888-363-8808.


Governor Markell Marks Next Stage in Fight against Addiction Epidemic

Details $4.45M in Spending Priorities for FY16

Harrington, DE – Responding to the need for increased addiction treatment and recovery services statewide in the face of an epidemic that claims a life from overdose every other day, Governor Markell joined Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and other leaders today to detail the state’s priorities for the $4.45 million in new resources provided by the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

Speaking at the construction site for a new withdrawal management clinic in Harrington, Governor Markell said that facility exemplifies the state’s commitment to serve the thousands of Delawareans and their families affected by the state’s addiction epidemic. In 2014, there were 185 suspected overdose deaths in Delaware, or about one every other day. Across the country, Delaware ranked 10th for overdose deaths. Almost 10,000 Delaware adults sought public treatment in 2014, with about one-third of those adults indicating heroin as their primary drug at the time of admission.

“The addiction epidemic is straining our public system beyond its capacity, with many people turned away for services when they are ready for treatment, or being forced to wait for services or supports to open up for them,” said Governor Markell, who proposed additional resources to treat substance use disorders in his State of the State address and FY2016 budget proposal. “I am grateful these new resources to increase treatment capacity remained in the budget, and I applaud members of General Assembly for holding steadfast to a commitment to increase treatment and recovery services, especially in a challenging fiscal environment.”

The withdrawal management clinic, operated for the Department of Health and Social Services by Connections Community Support Programs, Inc., is expected to open within a month to serve people in need, especially those in Kent and Sussex counties. The state’s other withdrawal management clinic is in New Castle County. With $750,000 in funding, both clinics will match withdrawal services to the individual’s needs, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. Both programs will have:

  • 16 beds for clinically managed and medically monitored detoxification;
  • 12 23-hour slots to allow for stabilization and observation of an individual who might not need a medically or clinically monitored withdrawal program; and
  • Ambulatory withdrawal management services, which can serve 30 to 100 individuals for 30 days in an intensive outpatient setting.

Secretary Landgraf detailed the state’s efforts to fight addiction on three fronts: prevention and education; treatment and recovery; and criminal justice. She cited the training and increased use of the overdose-reversing medication naloxone among members of the community and law enforcement, the use of the Good Samaritan/911 Law to allow people to call in overdoses without risking arrest for minor drug offenses, and an ongoing underage and binge drinking prevention campaign.

“We know all too well that addiction is indeed a disease of epidemic proportion, one that does not discriminate and that takes a toll every day on Delaware families,” Secretary Landgraf said. “With the help of these new state resources, we will continue to embrace communities of recovery such as the one being built in Harrington.”

Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe noted additional state spending in community treatment services will have a positive impact on the criminal justice system.

“For far too many individuals across our state, their addiction is a primary driver of destructive behavior that puts them into contact with the criminal justice system,” Commissioner Coupe said. “Increasing the number of treatment facilities in the community will ensure those who return to the community from a period of supervision by our department will have an opportunity to continue to participate in the addiction-related treatment they need to stay clean and sober, break their cycle of criminal behavior, and support their successful reentry to society.”

Mike Barbieri, the new director of DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH), detailed the priorities for the remainder of the $4.45 million in new funding. It would allow DSAMH to:

  • Expand the capacity of residential treatment programs throughout the state by opening new programs statewide. This will be done by reconfiguring the existing program at Delaware City and opening three 16-bed units across the state. When the changes are completed, the number of residential treatment beds is expected to increase from 78 to 95. ($800,000)
  • Double the number of sober living residential beds statewide from 60 to 120, allowing more individuals who are in the early stages of recovery to live in safe and secure housing that is free from drugs and alcohol. ($935,000)
  • Double the number of residential treatment beds across the state from 16 to 32 for young people age 18 to 25 who are beginning their recoveries from addiction to heroin or other opiates. ($1.15 million)
  • Fund start-up costs for residential treatment programs. ($815,000 in one-time funds)


Governor’s Weekly Message: Building on Our Efforts: 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

(Wilmington, DE) – In his weekly message, Governor Markell recognizes the 25th anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act by sharing efforts both in Delaware and across the country to create a more inclusive society.


“Educational and government programs, building access, transportation and adaptive technology have all helped many individuals with disabilities achieve a far greater quality of life,” said Governor Markell. “Over the past twenty-five years, we have made great strides in fostering an environment that is welcoming and supportive of individuals with disabilities. By building on our efforts to create a more inclusive society we will keep Delaware and our country moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:




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Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Building on Our Efforts: 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act