The Code Purple homeless shelter at the former Troop 7 building opened its doors Dec. 13 after a two-week delay to recruit and train volunteers. The opening comes just in time, as some of the coldest weather over the past few years is in the forecast this week.
The Lewes shelter, at 18006 Coastal Highway, is open for men only from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. The shelter first opened in January 2020 and then again in December 2020. Delaware State Police vacated the building Dec. 18, 2019, and opened a new troop on Mulberry Knoll Road near Lewes.
Donations for the shelter can be dropped off at Boulevard Ford Lincoln of Lewes, 18443 Coastal Highway, Lewes. See a list of needed items at codepurplesussexcounty.com.
Resource center provides services
The shelter is a collaborative effort between Love Inc. of Mid-Delmarva, based in Seaford, and the Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach. Those staying at the shelter are given bus passes to the center during the day to take showers and do laundry. Services are also available to assist the homeless at the day center.
The center offers a variety of programs including a job center, baby pantry, emergency assistance and food rescue program. The baby pantry, which provides supplies and food to 100 children, is sponsored by the Harry K Foundation.
The emergency assistance program provides more than $300,000 a year to help families pay for rent, utilities, car repairs and medicine in emergency situations. The food rescue program, which is open 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, distributes as many as 2,000 bags of groceries a month.
For more information, contact the center at 302-227-1340 or go to rehobothcommunitycenter.org.
Women can get shelter also
Love Inc. Executive Director Nikki Gonzalez said homeless women seeking overnight shelter in the Cape Region are transported to shelters accepting women in Seaford or Milford. “We are not going to leave anyone outside,” she said.
A donated meal is provided at shelters each night through a variety of sources. In Lewes, meals are prepared by people in the community and delivered to the shelter.
For more information or to volunteer for Code Purple, phone 302-956-6006, Ext. 302. Information is also available at codepurplesussexcounty.com. The homeless hotline is 302-519-2224 to reserve a spot.
Code Purple shelters will be open through March 15, regardless of the outdoor temperature.
Shelters are open to the homeless who register in advance seven nights a week at the number above. Each shelter has a maximum of 14 beds. Six shelters are open each night, with two in Seaford, two in Milford, the Lewes shelter and one in Georgetown.
Updated COVID protocols
On Jan. 4, the Delaware Housing Alliance issued updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations pertaining to COVID-19 in shelters.
The CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine, regardless of vaccine and booster status, for homeless shelter residents exposed to COVID-19. For exposed or infected staff, a 10-day isolation period is also recommended. If there is a critical staff shortage, facilities can shorten isolation periods with guidance from Delaware Division of Public Health.