For many Delawareans, Dec 23 was a Friday filled with finishing work before a long weekend, running last-minute holiday errands, or journeying to visit family or friends. Throughout the hustle and bustle of the day, you may have noticed a 45 degree drop in temperature. The morning started at a rainy 57 degrees and ended at 12 degrees with a feels like temperature of -8. This may have meant grabbing a heavier coat for evening plans, planning to Uber or drive instead of walk, or choosing to stay in all together. For someone experiencing homelessness and living on the street, however, proper planning for nights this cold can be the difference between life and death.
For Friendship House (FH), we are prepared to offer a warm, safe place for those experiencing homelessness on nights like this through our emergency shelter program, Code Purple, which is enacted when temperatures fall below 20 degrees in New Castle County. This life-saving program offers overnight shelter for anyone experiencing homelessness or houselessness. Over the weekend of Dec 23, which happened to be the weekend of Christmas, FH called Code Purple for 3 nights in a row.
Frances, who utilized Code Purple over the holiday weekend shared, ”It’s a warm place. The food is good, I love the food!’ Frances has utilized our programs for about 5 years now. She also noted she enjoys seeing familiar faces, meeting new friends and feels Code Purple is a community. Dana, a long-time FH visitor, said “It’s awesome!” when asked about Code Purples. Dana also noted he enjoys the environment of Code Purples and the feel of togetherness.
This is why we do what we do, for people like Frances and Dana, so they can stay alive to see another day.
We are so grateful for our loving, supportive community who make this program possible. We can only run this program because of our dedicated volunteers and faith community partners who continue to open their doors for people experiencing homelessness in order to feel togetherness. There will be more Code Purples to come this winter. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.