Dover-Area Church Calls for Action on Homelessness with Campout - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover-Area Church Calls for Action on Homelessness with Campout

Posted: Jul 07, 2017 6:36 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del. -- For the last week, people have slept in tents outside Victory Church near Dover to push the overall issue of homelessness into the public eye.

Pastor Aaron Appling said the campout was intended to draw attention to the plight of the homeless in the Dover area and Kent County. The church gave homeless people tents that they will be able to keep for shelter.

"The more people that are aware that we got these guys in the street, the more people that will come forward and as a community we can solve the problem," he said.

Michael Gilroy slept in one of the tents and said he has had difficulty finding housing in the area but feels more secure with a tent.

"I don't think I'm homeless if I have a tent. I have a place to stay, I have a roof over my head. Even though it's a tent and it's in the middle of the woods, but it's still somewhere to sleep instead of sleeping outside," he said. 

Appling said the demonstration would end on Friday, a week after it started. He wanted to avoid any disturbances to neighbors and the ire of Kent County, which previously threatened to fine the church for housing a homeless woman in an RV behind the building.

Gilroy said he believes Dover needs to do more as a city to help the homeless.

"The city hall won't do anything because it's all about money. They're not getting paid for it so they just don't care," he said.

Dover has been examining the issue of homelessness through a blue ribbon commission that recently wrapped up work. The group found there were a few hundred homeless adult individuals in and around Dover and a lack of affordable housing in the area affected the ability of homeless people to find somewhere to live.

Mayor Robin Christiansen said a task force will be working to see if a plan can be developed to address the issue of homelessness, but said the city itself has limited resources and does not have a health and social services department.

"The city of Dover is not charged with taking care of the homeless and I think we are making every effort to find a solution and develop partnerships in the community to eliminate the problem."

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