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Economic hardships brought about by the Great Depression forced the General Assembly in December 1932 to institute a program of emergency relief to be administered by the Temporary Emergency Relief Commission. The eight gubernatorially appointed members were to serve through October 1933, unless continued by the Legislature until April 1934, should circumstances dictate. Four members were to be relief directors (1 Wilmington, 1 NCC, 1 KC, 1 SC), and were responsible for formulating and instituting work programs for the public good, as well as coordinating the efforts of local relief commissions specific to their area of jurisdiction. They also acted as agents in accepting contributions of supplies, money, etc. The workers were not permitted to perform any construction or repairs on state buildings, but the State Highway Department was permitted to employ them in roads projects. Assistance could only be distributed as earned wages, not as a public dole.1
With New Castle County’s dense population, the effects of the depression were still being felt after the aforementioned commission ceased operations. Thus, in January 1935 the General Assembly created the Temporary Emergency Relief Commission for New Castle County. The Commission was composed of four members and the guidelines for aid were nearly identical to the earlier version. In March of that year, administrative operations were assumed by Relief Commissions, Inc., a Delaware corporation formerly known as Associated Charities. The emergency period originally was through April 1, 1937,2 but subsequent legislation extended that to April 16, 1937,3 with the final report being dated April 30, 1937.
Upon completion of the project, all TERC property was turned over to the County Engineer, and all records to the Clerk of the Peace.4 In 1939, the County Engineer was authorized to sell or otherwise dispose of all the property of the TERC. The Clerk of the Peace was instructed to turn over all records of the TERC to the Old Age Welfare Commission.5

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1 38 DL, ch. 1.

2 40 DL, ch. 115.

3 41 DL, ch. 282.

4 40 DL, ch. 115.

5 42 DL, ch. 98.
JRF; April 6, 1989

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