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The Temporary Emergency Relief Commission for New Castle County was established in January 1935 to continue the work of the Temporary Emergency Relief Commission (RG 1993), a state agency responsible for aiding the unemployed and needy during the depression. The new county level commission assumed responsibility for providing employment and life’s necessities to the destitute of New Castle County, as this county had a more serious unemployment problem than the lower two counties.1
The Temporary Emergency Relief Commission for New Castle County was administered by four members, called relief directors, who were appointed by the governor. The commission was charged with the responsibility for formulating plans for furnishing work relief and direct relief in New Castle County. Work relief consisted of providing employment on public works projects, while direct relief provided food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities to the needy. Relief was provided for those in actual need, those who were involuntarily unemployed but able and willing to work, or whose earnings were not sufficient to provide necessities. The commission was required to hire investigators to prevent fraud and to insure that aid was given only to those eligible to receive benefits. In carrying out investigations, the commission was authorized to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, and compel the production of records relevant to the investigation. The commission also had the authority to organize relief committees composed of local citizens to aid them in determining who was truly needly.2
Funds for the commission’s work were appropriated by the New Castle County Levy Court, and private contributions were also accepted. The commission was required to have its accounts and records audited at regular periods by the county comptroller and to submit monthly reports of its activities to the New Castle County Levy Court.3
As a result of the efforts of the Works Progress Administration, other new deal programs, and an improved economic climate, the commission was dissolved at “the termination of the emergency period” which was set at April, 1938. Upon completion of all work and the settling of its records, all the records of the commission were required to be deposited with the clerk of the peace.4

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1 38 D.L., ch. 1; 40 D.L., ch. 115

Elizabeth Godwin Goggin, “The History of Poor Relief Administration in Delaware,” Diss. Univ. of Chicago, 1938, p. 2762. 40 D.L., ch. 115, 116

3 40 D.L., ch. 115

4 Ibid. 41 D.L., ch. 282. Temporary Emergency Relief Commission for New Castle County, A Final Report of Activities (1937), P.V.
????; September 12, 1988; November 9, 1988; January 4, 1989

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