Center for Returning Neighbors

For four decades, the historic district of downtown Dover has experienced decay, underdevelopment, impoverishment, and despair. After consultations with various stakeholders, a group of Dover citizens founded the People’s Community Center to harness local knowledge and organizing local partners and allies to launch programs to address downtown’s most critical problems.

The Need

The crises of underemployment, addiction, and homelessness have vastly disproportionately harmed young adults in Dover. Limited options have caused some members of our community have spent years in prison. When they are released, they face serious obstacles to rebuilding their lives and reintegrating into their communities. There is currently a paucity of help available for ex-offenders seeking to rebuild their lives.

65.1% of adult ex-offender males were re-arrested within six months of release.

Delaware has one of the highest rates of recidivism in the nation. This is especially true of young black males, who suffer a vastly disproportionate share of poverty. Programs exist in New Castle County to help them re-integrate into their communities, but there is almost no help for people returning to Kent County.

68% of juvenile offenders recidivated within six months of release.

The Vision

The People’s Center for Returning Neighbors seeks to build on our experience and expertise with people in and out of prison, to create a re-entry center in Downtown Dover. Here, formerly incarcerated people will share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to help others and create a new community. And professionals will help the returning neighbors to build life and job skills, clear the wreckage of their past, and reintegrate positively into their communities.

The Center will offer the following services:

Local stakeholders have provided funding to renovate 320 square feet of downtown space. We now seek funding to launch the program, and community-based organizational partner who wish to join us in this work.

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