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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: December 10, 2014


NEW CASTLE (Dec. 10, 2014) - With the support of people from across Delaware, Code Purple locations are expanding statewide for the coming winter months. Code Purple sites support individuals who are homeless in finding a place of refuge during dangerous winter conditions.p>

Organized and staffed by volunteers, Code Purple sites in all three counties 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 when winter-weather conditions - low temperatures, low wind chills, or heavy snow - make it difficult for anyone to be outside for extended periods.

"The efforts of Code Purple organizers across our state illustrate the best of Delaware, with neighbors helping neighbors in need," Gov. Jack Markell said. "I offer my thanks to the volunteers who staff the sites and to the generous Delawareans who provide sleeping materials, food, and other donations to operate the locations." Since 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 2-1-1, search for "Code Purple" on the Delaware 2-1-1 mobile app or on its website at www.delaware211.org

During dangerous weather conditions, care for our Delawareans who are homeless is essential and requires teamwork," Delaware 2-1-1 Director Donna Snyder White said. "Delaware 2-1-1 is grateful to have the opportunity to support dedicated community leaders and volunteers who open their doors to provide a place of refuge, and give their time and talents to serve our neighbors in need,"
Locations include:

New Castle County: 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 at the Newark Empowerment Center. The Wilmington program is done in collaboration with the Salvation Army. For more information about Code Purple nights in New Castle County, call Bill Perkins at 559-5716. Perkins is known in the community for his commitment to support people who are homeless.

Kent County: In Kent County, Code Purple is declared when the temperature or wind chill falls below 32 degrees. The Code Purple status can be determined by calling 1-800-733-6816 to listen to a pre-recorded message, which is updated frequently, and will identify Code Purple sites that are open in Kent County. Currently, Code Purple is in effect in Kent County and the following locations will open at 5 p.m. today, Dec. 10, and remain open Thursday, Dec. 11, and Friday, Dec. 12: Mt. Carmel Church (for men), Dover Interfaith Mission (if needed for overflow of men), Calvary Baptist (for women and children), and Wesley United Methodist Church (for families). Morning leave time is 7 a.m. for each day listed. Purple flags and lights on buildings (Legislative Hall in Dover and at various Delaware social services locations) will be another indicator that Code Purple in Kent County has been declared.

Champions and strong supporters of Code Purple in Kent County include Rebecca Martin, Allen Angel and Jeanine Kleimo, Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing (lead agency). For questions, Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing can be reached at 736-3600 or email interfaithdover@verizon.net .

Current approved sanctuaries:

Sussex County: While there is not a defined lead agency that officially activates Code Purple, there are several local champions and Code Purple sites that lead efforts to support people who are homeless in Sussex County. These include:

Many of the Code Purple sites across the state often need more volunteers, and more donations of money, sleeping supplies and food. The list of needed items include: blankets, cots, sleeping bags, towels and wash cloths, hand wipes and sanitizers, feminine products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disinfectant spray, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, long underwear, coats, hand or feet warmers, bottled water, pre-cooked or frozen meals, instant hot drinks, ready-to-eat food with easy-opening lids, and garbage bags.

"Until government and nonprofit partners can find transitional or permanent housing for the hundreds of individuals and families who are homeless in our state, we are grateful that Code Purple sites will provide people in need with a warm place to stay, a hearty meal and a welcoming hand on the worst weather days this winter," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "If you see anyone without a place to go this winter, we urge you to refer them to the nearest Code Purple location or to Delaware 2-1-1 to be connected to services."

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.