Seaford Code Purple Shelter Open for First Winter - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Seaford Code Purple Shelter Open for First Winter

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
 SEAFORD, Del. (WBOC) - When temperatures drop below 32 degrees at night, Code Purple kicks in. In Western Sussex County, those without shelter from the cold had to travel elsewhere last winter. Now, there's a place for people to escape the temperatures in Seaford.

This winter, more Code Purple shelters are open across Delaware, including one at the Stein Highway Church of God's Lighted Pathways Center in Seaford. They're offering a warm bed and meals to the homeless when temperatures dip below freezing.

Nikki Gonzalez is the Code Purple Coordinator for the Seaford shelter. She shared a story about one of the people who visited the shelter.

"Miss Dot came in a week ago, she became homeless in April. She had been sitting out in the code for four hours. She's 70-years-old and has some health problems. To me, it's what code purple helps with, letting people survive for one more day," said Gonzalez.

According to code, the shelter can sleep 16 people and right now serves primarily men. It provides them with food, a hot cup of coffee, a place to sleep, even the chance to play games or go to Bible study.

Senior Pastor Dan Southern said opening the shelter was an effort of the community of faith in the area.

"Our church was right here where a lot of homeless people stay, so we were just a natural fit to be the church that will provide the means to make it happen," said Southern. "Each local church has to meet certain guidelines to become a shelter. We are doing what we are supposed to be doing: loving on people, regardless of what their need is."

Right now, the center has about a dozen volunteers, but is asking for more. One of the volunteers is Karin Powell.

"Someone once said not everyone who is homeless is crazy, but everyone who is homeless is dependent on something. Doesn't mean they're dependent on drugs, doesn't mean they're dependent on alcohol, just the way of life," said Powell.

Seaford isn't the only place offering shelter. In Kent County, six locations are open in Dover and one location in Milford. The Milford location also serves as the "overflow" for women and children for the Seaford location.

Soon, western Sussex will see more Code Purple shelters to serve a growing need in the state.

"Gateway Fellowship will be opening for women and children, we're in the works now but until then, we send them to Kent County," said Gonzalez.

Here are the Code Purple locations for Sussex County:

Eastern Sussex: Faith Methodist United Methodist Church supports the operation of Immanuel Emergency Shelter, 37439 Oyster House Rd., Rehoboth Beach. Call Nan Ruhl, director of Immanuel Shelter, at (302) 604-2619.

Central Sussex: Phila Pentecostal Holiness Church, 13724 S Old State Rd., Ellendale. (302) 422-5306.

Western Sussex: Stein Highway Church of God, 425 E. Stein Highway, Seaford, (302) 629-8583. Hours of operation will be from approximately 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Here are code purple locations for Kent County:

Dover Presbyterian Church (for men) 54 S. State St. Dover, Del. Open Wednesday.

Mt. Carmel Church (for men) 117 N. West St. Dover, Del. Open Thursday.

Calvary Baptist Church (women and children) 410 Fulton St. Dover, Del. Open Tuesday.

Wesley UMC (Women and Children) 209 S. State St. Dover, Del. Wednesday and Thursday.

The Milford Multi-Cultural Community Center (women and children) 105 NE Front St. Milford, Del. Wednesday and Thursday, open 6:30 p.m.- 7 a.m., Dinner served at 7 p.m.

Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing (men ) 684 Forest St. Dover, Del. -over flow for men on Wednesday.

Please call 1-800-733-6816 for any further updates this week in Kent County.
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