Nonprofit to aid homeless during heat wave

CRC to launch Code Orange in July
June 21, 2024

The Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach is launching Code Orange to provide additional time for homeless people to cool off during the hottest month of the summer.

Code Orange means CRC will open its shelter all four weekends in July, in addition to its regular hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“People can come, make sure they are hydrated, they can do their laundry, they can take a shower. A shower can make a big difference in getting your body temperature regulated,” said Nancy Alexander, CRC executive director.

Alexander said they are working with volunteer groups to provide food and cold beverages.

Two CRC staff members will work weekends to keep the shelter open.

Annette Johnson, CRC program manager, said the organization already helps people get clean clothes in the summer.

“We get donations of T-shirts, sandals, light jeans and shorts. We’ve been distributing those and will make those available for clients when they come,” Johnson said.

Alexander said it costs CRC $50,000 to $60,000 per year to provide all of its services. She said she has asked donors for additional contributions for Code Orange.

She said CRC would consider extending Code Orange into August if it gets enough donations.

Johnson said CRC averages about 10 people in the shelter every day. She said she expects that to increase to at least 15 for the weekend Code Orange.

Code Orange is similar to the CRC’s Code Purple program that runs seven days a week from December to March.

Alexander said the CRC is the only daytime Code Purple, and now Code Orange, shelter in eastern Sussex County.

CRC is not an overnight shelter. Johnson said the homeless live in tent cities at night, then come to CRC to clean up during the day.

“Our mission is to keep people safe and connected with services,” Alexander said.

Those services include help in getting jobs, driver’s licenses, financial assistance and affordable housing. CRC also gives clients an address where mail can be sent, which is required in order to get benefits.

Johnson said they are hoping Beebe Healthcare’s mobile community health unit will come to the shelter twice a month. She said La Red will be bringing its new health unit in August.

“Most of our homeless clients have health issues: diabetes, high blood pressure, dental issues. We’re so glad to have these providers to check on them,” Johnson said.

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