Code Purple shelters are opening in all three Delaware counties for individuals who are homeless and in need of a place of refuge with low temperatures in the teens or single digits through much of next week.
Often organized and staffed by volunteers, Code Purple sites in Delaware typically are located at houses of worship and community shelters. The sites provide safe, warm and short-term housing and hot meals to individuals and families who are homeless. The activation of Code Purple varies, with decisions sometimes made day-by-day. Shelters typically are opened when winter-weather conditions — low temperatures, low wind chills, strong winds or heavy snow — make it difficult for anyone to be outside for extended periods. Being outside during extreme cold brings the risk of frostbite or hypothermia for anyone who does not take proper precautions. During the coldest periods, prolonged exposure could result in frostbite in less than 30 minutes.
Because most Code Purple sites use volunteers to manage operations, the activation and implementation vary by county and site. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 211, search for “Code Purple” on the Delaware 211 mobile app or at delaware211.org and click on the Code Purple button.
In Wilmington and Newark, the lead agency for Code Purple in New Castle County is Friendship House, which operates two Code Purple winter sanctuary programs — one in Wilmington and the other in Newark through the Newark Empowerment Center. The Wilmington program is operated in collaboration with the Salvation Army. Beside the Friendship/Salvation Army winter sanctuary program, the Sunday Breakfast Mission and the Rick VanStory Resource Center offer overnight shelter to both men and women.
The Salvation Army has extended Code Purple for tonight through the night of Jan. 1. At Salvation Army building, 400 N. Orange St., those who seek overnight housing will receive a hot snack, continental breakfast and a shower. Newark Empowerment Center connects people with overnight stays at a rotating group of churches when Code Purple is declared in Wilmington. To register and receive location, call 544-0165.
Code Purple was declared through Jan. 6 in Kent County. Sanctuaries opening for men are Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E. Mount Vernon St., Smyrna, 5 p.m.; and People’s Church of Dover, 46 S. Bradford St., Dover, 5 p.m. Sanctuaries opening for women are Christ Church, 523 S. State St., Dover, 5 p.m.; and Milford Community Center, 105 NE Front St., 5 p.m. For information about future locations, call the hotline at 800-733-6816.
In Sussex County, Code Purple is declared when temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Sanctuaries include:
— St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 202 N. North St., Seaford, men only. Check-in at 8:30 p.m.
— Gateway Fellowship, 8011 Cannon Road, Bridgeville, women and children only. Check-in at 8:30 p.m.
— Dinner is provided at 7 p.m. at the Cross building, 703 E. King St., Seaford, with transportation to Gateway Fellowship afterward.
— Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St., Milford, men only. Check-in at 7 p.m.; meals provided on-site.
— Opening Jan. 1, Laurel Nazarene, 100 Walnut Drive, men, with separate space for fathers with children. Check-in at 7 p.m. Dinner provided at the Cross building with transportation to and from the Cross building to be provided.
— Georgetown Presbyterian, 203 N. Bedford St. Call 344-1912 or leave a message at the church at 856-6842. The sanctuary is open for extreme weather. People must call ahead about availability.
— Immanuel Code Purple Shelter, 37439 Oyster House Road, Rehoboth Beach, open nightly until April 1 regardless of the temperature — serving men and women. From 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily.
For more, call 519-0024 or visit codepurplesussexcounty.com.