Bill Perkins, CEO
In This Issue
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To donate monetarily, please visit our website: or call the office: 302-652-8133.
Change Lives With Us
If you are interested in helping to change lives, please email Kim Eppehimer at or call the main office: 302-652-8133.
Mother's Day Garden
We are kicking off our annual Mother's Day Garden fundraiser! Please keep an eye out for our email and mailing regarding how you can help make this the most successful one yet! Not on our mailing list yet? Email with your name and address!
March 2015


Our Transitional Housing program started 25 years ago on Ash Wednesday when Friendship House and Westminster Presbyterian Church joined together to open Burton House, one of the earliest transitional housing programs in New Castle County. Burton House wasn't very impressive - just a two-bedroom apartment above the church garage where employed homeless men could live for free for 90 days while they saved their money and worked their program. It soon became obvious to everyone that the transition from one way of living to another was not that simple.


Burton House


Most homeless folks are dealing with more than just the loss of housing. In a real sense they are displaced persons striving to figure out where they fit and how to rebuild their often broken lives. The transition is not just about a new job or a cheap place to stay. It is the process of healing old wounds, learning new skills and sometimes overcoming one's personal demons. People on such a journey need a safe, supportive home and a community of like-minded friends.


Learning from our residents, Friendship House has continued to expand and modify its transitional housing program. Today it consists of eleven different sites (six for women and five for men). Residents that complete the full program have received a year of subsidized housing, are able to eliminate a significant portion of their outstanding debt and can save up to $2,500. The most successful graduates also use their time in the program to continue their education, develop new life skills and advance their career.


In the twenty-five years since Burton House first opened its doors, 1,698 residents (999 men/ 697 women) have participated in the Friendship House Transitional Housing Program. Some are now Friendship House staff. Many are our greatest success stories. Others have relapsed or returned to prison or died. Wherever they are on their journey, their lives and ours have been forever changed by our time together.


Bill Perkins

Executive Director and CEO


A Lenten Reflection (an excerpt) Marcy Perkins 
When I reflect on the Friendship House Transitional Housing Program, I see the faces of men and women who have been in residence. From the moment we interview them, the residents and staff are intimately related as residents share their secrets, their shame, and their dreams with us.

Recently, the housing staff has been grappling with difficult situations involving women and men we have grown to love. Some of them have started using drugs again; several have died. Because we care about our residents and former residents, their trials and tribulations affect us deeply. In Lent, especially during Holy Week, it is natural to think of the sufferings of Jesus when thinking about the sufferings of our residents. It is vaguely comforting to know that he endured and understands our unhappiness and despair.

The staff do not need reassurance or praise when we feel sad about our residents' choices. We just need to find the courage to try again. When a woman relapses, it breaks our heart. When a man opts out of the program because it is "too structured," we feel sad. Somehow, like Jesus, we need to find the strength to move forward.

In this newsletter, we share stories from two courageous people, Madisin and Rich, who have overcome addiction just for today. "Just for today" because recovery from addiction is never-ending. Every day for the rest of their lives they will need to work their recovery program. People like Madisin and Rich, and so many others, help the staff to keep going. Our faith in God also motivates us. It would be a betrayal of all that God has given us if we were to stop trying or stop caring.



We pray that our hearts will remain soft; that our doors will remain open; that we will embrace each new resident with the hope that he or she will have an experience of God's love here, whether s/he completes the program or not. It is God's love and not our efforts that changes lives and saves souls. Our job is to be God's instrument and, perhaps, help the residents to hear God's healing words of love. After all, that is how Jesus lived.


Marcy Perkins

Director of Housing


(To see Marcy's full reflection, please visit our website. Also, we will be mailing out a paper newsletter with her full article. Contact Roxane to ensure you are on our mailing list!)

Why We Do What We Do...
Meet Madisin

My name is Madisin and I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I was in an inpatient treatment facility when I started to look into the Friendship House Program. It was toward the end of my stay in treatment and I needed to think about what I was going to do when I left and, more importantly, where I was going to live. It was important to find a safe place to continue working on my recovery. After an interview with Friendship House, I was accepted and moved into the first phase on September 22, 2014. Ever since then I have really felt myself grow into a successful young woman.

When I was in my addiction, I didn't really know how to be responsible. I was very selfish and self-centered. Yes, I knew right from wrong but never wanted to do the right thing. I've noticed growth in myself here and there but I really noticed a big change when I celebrated my 21st birthday this year. My mom's birthday is February 28; my brother's birthday is March 5; my birthday is March 7. Normally, by February 27, my attitude was, "Forget every one else's birthday! What are we doing for mine? What presents are you getting me?" I was such a brat. This year, however, I can honestly say that the best present I got was that all of my family said they were proud of me. Yeah, presents are nice but nothing material can compare to the gratitude I have gained. With guidance of the staff here, I was able to regain some structure in my life. I pay my bills on time; I have money in a savings account; I have a full-time job. I do my laundry; I go grocery shopping. My apartment in Phase 3 of this program is clean.


I could go on and on but most important, I'm honest and trustworthy. I know all of these things are "normal" things that young adults should know how to do, but these are all things I never did, nor did I care to do when I was in my addiction. I have grown into a responsible young woman and I am prepared for the transition into the real world and the next chapter of my life. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Meet Rich
For the most part, entering a long term rehab facility is not an act of faith, but one of desperation. A place to appease family, friends, loved ones, the courts... or even a place of sanctuary for some who were living on the streets or needing a break from the daily physical and mental grind of getting "high" or inebriated. 

While the percentage of people who complete such programs are low, some do. Finally they surrender and start working on the triad of recovery: the physical, mental and spiritual process to a new way of life. We learn to deal with the shame, guilt, anger and resentments associated with addiction. Once completing a program, the transition back into society can be a hard one. I was one of those people. Living in a new city, with a part time job and family who were happy I was doing well and proud of me for completing a program but still reluctant to take me into their home. And who could blame them? Not me! That's where the Friendship House came in.

It became a place to continue my journey of recovery. A place of structure and rules, but also a place to flourish and transition into, what I call, normality: to find employment or better employment, to save and budget money, set goals, get help with existing court situations and continue mending relationships with family, friends and loved ones; all while making new friends along the way. In a year's time at the Friendship House, I am getting ready to move into my own apartment. I have a checking and savings account, am paying my child support and what I owe in arrears, am in the process of getting my license back, and the relationships with my family and daughters continue to grow each day. I will forever be grateful to the Friendship House for their help, support, generosity and guidance.

I would recommend the Friendship House to anyone unsure of where to go or what to do when leaving a program. With the help of long-term treatment and transitional housing, that "road to nowhere" can become a pathway of hope, faith and serenity.
Making a difference can affect you, too.
Why be a part of it?
We consider our volunteers as part of the Friendship House family. Volunteering at Friendship House has become its own kind of program - one that takes time to build upon and one that needs to be transformed to meet with the current needs of those we help as well as those who wish to participate. We desire to ensure the work is meaningful for our dedicated volunteers and for those we serve at Friendship House. It is also a necessary program because so many of our programs depend on volunteers - like serving dinner at Epiphany House for our women in the first stage of housing or serving dinner for the men at Andrew's Place or serving breakfast to the community at our Sunday Breakfast. 

For so many of our volunteers, it is more than just showing up to complete a task. It becomes a transforming experience for all involved. One of our newest volunteers who has started to serve dinner at Epiphany House monthly shared these words with us:

"The ladies at the house have all been welcoming and very easy to get to know. Plus we always end up joking around and laughing. I look forward to our once a month dinner we get to share with them "
Lisa Burns.

Sharing yourself with someone is powerful - for you and for the person you are with. To know that one other person in the world cares enough to stop their busy lives and gift their time unconditionally is sometimes all that is needed at that moment to feel that things will be okay.

Reach out to Kim or call the office (302-652-8133) to find out how you can be a part of making a difference for someone, and possibly making a difference within yourself.

Housing Graduates

Thank you for your continued support! If you are interested in learning more about ways in which you can help Friendship House and our many ministries, please call us at the office: 302-652-8133. You can also visit our website for information or to make a monetary donation.

The Friendship House Team

Friendship House | | |
PO Box 1517
Wilmington, DE 19899