Cold Temps Expose Hole in Kent County Code Purple System - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cold Temps Expose Hole in Kent County Code Purple System

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - This winter's extreme cold weather has exposed a major hole in Kent County's system for helping the homeless stay warm and alive.

Delaware has what are called "Code Purple" locations that provide extra emergency shelter for the state's homeless during times of extreme cold. There are places in Sussex and New Castle Counties but not really anything in Kent.

Bishop Nelson Lewis is the pastor at Dover's Mount Carmel Church of the Living God. He's looking to have the church basement be a code purple shelter for ten to 15 people.

"Help the homeless who have nowhere to go on those cold nights, open up our basement, serve them food and provide a nice warm place for them," he said.

Lewis was surprised Kent didn't have a designated Code Purple location. Earlier this winter the Dover Interfaith Mission shelter got approval to house a few more people on really cold nights. But Herb Konowitz, with the mission, says the area needs to do more.

"When we do have Code Purple, it will be in place. We won't have to go running around town trying to find people."

"Dying should not be an option in this county," said Levy Court Commissioner Allan Angel. "We should be able to help these people. Growing up I was always told when your neighbor is need, you open your door and your wallet and you help."

Angel is helping lead the push to do more. There was a meeting held at the Levy Court Building Tuesday evening to discuss the topic.

"I am a little shocked and surprised that something like this fell through the cracks in our county," Angel said.

Lewis hopes opening his doors will show Kent County's homeless population people care.

"We're just starting February," he said. "I think it's realistic to believe there are going to be some more cold nights. I'm hoping other churches and agencies in the area will open up their doors also."

Lewis says his church could get the final go-ahead to be an emergency shelter as soon as Wednesday.

Angel says changes to the Code Purple system in Kent County are a big part of what needs to happen moving forward. But he says by no means does it have to be the only thing the area does.

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