About Us - Home

About Us


About The Shepherd Place


The Shepherd Place is a family shelter in Dover Delaware that was founded some twenty five years ago by Father Lawrence Hunt and others who felt an acute desire to work to meet the needs of those in the Dover area who were homeless.


A Short History of the Shelter

The large stately white house that has come to symbolize the shelter was built around 1920 on the Kesselring farm that was then south of Dover. It passed between various families until 1988 when the estate of the former owner transferred the house and property to The Shepherd Place for one dollar. At the time of the transfer, a group of local citizens led by Father Hunt was working to establish a shelter in the South Dover area to serve the critical needs of homeless families. With the acquisition of the old house and its large outbuilding, the problem of a place to serve those in need was solved. As is so often the case, the real work was just beginning.


The Fire

Several years ago the shelter suffered damage from a major fire in the Annex building. The building was a total loss and had to be rebuilt from the ground up. Fortunately, all the residents and the staff member that were in the building at the time got out safely. With the new building and a major renovation of "the old house", the Shelter has greatly improved the quality of its services while remaining true to Father Hunt's vision of caring for those in need.


The Mission

The Shelter continues to provide housing, case management, food and other basic needs at no cost to those who need them. Those needs include clothing and other items as well as a limited amount of household supplies to help those that move from the shelter into their own home or apartment. The vast majority of these items are provided to the clients during their state law mandated ninety day maximum stay, as well as former clients in need, and are donated by the community. Donations of cash and goods are very important as the Shelter itself receives no direct Federal aid. The Shepherd Place is an affiliated United Way agency.


Transitional Housing

Transitional Housing is available for those clients who qualify. There is a waiting list for this limited space. Those clients who can work are encouraged and assisted with finding employment; those who cannot work receive assistance with getting the ongoing support they need. They also receive help finding permanent housing, or if needed, space in another shelter when their thirty day stay at the Shepherd Place is over. It is a step between being in a shelter and being in a more permanent leased space that will be "theirs". As with the shelter itself, it is provided at no charge. The money the client earns is saved for things like future down payments and deposits on utility service. The list of restrictions for who is eligible for the homes is long. They must be employed in a stable long-term job, they cannot have outstanding legal trouble, they cannot have a history of substance abuse unless they have successfully completed treatment and remain clean, the family must be stable and school age children must be enrolled in school, and so on. The restrictions are tight, but the need is great, and the houses have waiting lists.

The shelter averages nearly 500 clients a year, about half of which are children. The reasons they come through are as varied as the people themselves and include: domestic violence, substance abuse, and personal tragedy such as a fire. There are also those who have been caught up in somebody else's problems or situations and are now on the street. The case management services offered are client specific. The shelter is always looking for other options as well as donations to expand their efforts to help those in need.