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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 7, 2015


NEW CASTLE (Jan. 7, 2015) - With wind chills expected to drop below zero across Delaware Wednesday night into Thursday morning, volunteer-organized and staffed Code Purple locations are opening across the state.

Code Purple sites in all three counties typically are located at houses of worship and community centers. 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, gusty winds, low wind chills, or heavy snow - make it difficult for anyone to be outside for extended periods. The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for all three counties from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 9 a.m. Thursday. Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits, with winds at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph, and wind chills as low as 10 below zero. "We are grateful to the many volunteers across our state who are there to open the doors to our neighbors in need," Gov. Jack Markell said. "With dangerous temperatures and wind chills predicted tonight, I urge Delawareans who see people out who don't appear to have a place to go to call 9-1-1, so police can help get them to a safe location."

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

"The Code Purple sites are supported by a host of caring volunteers who work to provide a warm and friendly night-time haven during dangerous weather conditions for Delawareans who are homeless," Delaware 2-1-1 Director Donna Snyder White said. "Delaware 2-1-1 is honored to support these volunteers and their sites as they support 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.

The Salvation Army has called a Code Purple in Wilmington through Friday, Jan. 9. The schedule: Wednesday, Jan. 7

Thursday, Jan. 8

Friday, Jan. 9

Addresses for the 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:

Eastern Sussex: Faith Methodist United Methodist Church supports the operation of Immanuel Emergency Shelter, 37439 Oyster House Road, Rehoboth Beach, from Monday through Friday throughout the winter. Call Janice at 302-212-2971.

Western Sussex: Seaford Interfaith Code Purple Mission Inc., has declared Code Purple through Sunday and has opened its shelter for men and women at Stein Highway Church of God, 425 E. Stein Highway, Seaford. Hours are from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Note: The church operates a day-care center from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The site will have slightly extended hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Call Niki at 302-519-0024.

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 days so far this winter," Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said.

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.