Code Purple Sussex County set to offer shelter for homeless
SUSSEX COUNTY — Emergency overnight shelter for the homeless in the upcoming winter season will again be offered downstate through Code Purple agencies in Kent and Sussex counties.
Like many entities, the ministerial effort has undergone change and faces restrictions and challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Code Purple Sussex County, empowered by Love INC (In the Name of Christ) of Mid-Delmarva, will open doors to five of the participating shelters from Dec. 1 through March 15, regardless of temperature.
A sixth shelter, Laurel Nazarene, is not scheduled to open until Jan. 1.
With final memorandum of understanding approval, the former Delaware State Police Troop 7 barracks in Lewes will become a seventh shelter, serving the greater Cape region.
On Nov. 20, the five-member Commission on State Surplus Real Property “approved unanimously the temporary access agreement between Love INC and the state for the use of the old Troop 7 location as a Code Purple shelter, from the date of the signed agreement through April 1 with full access in regards to no temperature stipulation as there was last year,” State Sen. Ernie Lopez said.
As of Saturday morning, the MOU had not yet been received for review by Code Purple/Love INC, Sussex Code Purple Director Nikki Gonzalez said.
A handful of shelters will open in Kent on Dec. 1, too, if temperatures dip into the 30s.
On all shelter fronts, volunteers are desperately needed.
“We are struggling with the fear factor for volunteers. They don’t want to risk their health in order to help us,” said Ms. Gonzalez. “We only have a handful of overnight volunteers for the shelters so far. We are doing everything per CDC (Centers for disease Control) so that people can be assured that we are keeping it as safe as possible.”
“We need to get the word out that we need overnight volunteers still. We have a majority of older volunteers that usually stay and this year we need the younger population to step up,” Ms. Gonzalez said.
Tom Chilton, entering his fifth season as Code Purple site coordinator at Milford’s Avenue United Methodist Church, where he is a member, echoes that.
“We need volunteers,” Mr. Chilton said. “Unfortunately we have lost two or three volunteers who would volunteer at least one night a week or every other week. And that is going to hurt us this year. I’m not sure how we are going to fill that void, but we will, hopefully.”
Official Code Purple shelters (including gender of overnight guests) are:
• Pathways Building at Stein Highway Church of God, 425 Stein Highway, Seaford; MEN ONLY; check-in 8:30 p.m.; check-out, 7 a.m.
• Grace Seaford Church, 805 Atlanta Road, Seaford; WOMEN ONLY; check-in 8:30 p.m.; check-out, 7 a.m.; to-go dinners for Seaford area will be available for pick up from the CROSS Building, 703 E. King Street, Seaford.
• Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church Street, Milford; MEN ONLY); check-in 8:30 p.m.; check-out 7 a.m.;
• Milford Nazarene, 11 NW Salevan Pl., Milford; WOMEN (with or without children) ONLY; Check-in 8:30 p.m.; checkout 7 p.m.; dinner- The Gathering at the Table Family Kitchen, at Milford Presbyterian Church, 101 S. Walnut Street.
• Laurel Nazarene, 100 Walnut drive, Laurel; MEN; check-in 8:30 p.m.; checkout 6 a.m.; meals provided on site;
• Georgetown Presbyterian Church, 203 N. Bedford Street, Georgetown; MEN; check-in 9 p.m. (except Saturdays, 11 p.m.); check-out 7 a.m.; no dinner provided at this time;
• Former Troop 7 barracks, Lewes; pending final agreement/memorandum of understanding; through April 1; other details TBA.
In addition, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, at 769 E. Master Circle, Suite 113/115, Milford is available as a referral resource for anyone experiencing homelessness.
Code Purple website: https://codepurplesussexcounty.com/
Facebook updates: https://www.facebook.com/codepurplesussexcounty