Code Purple Lewes site up and running, gets $50K funding

Susan Kent, executive director of Love INC. of Mid Delmarva, covering Sussex County, standing in center, joins volunteers and officials in a prayer next to the former Delaware State Police Troop #7 building on Route 1 in Lewes on Friday. The building now serves as an overnight low barrier cold weather shelter that includes 15 beds. Special to the Delaware State News/Butch Comegys

LEWES — Code Purple Sussex County’s Lewes site occupying the former Delaware State Police Troop 7 barracks is receiving a notable financial boost, courtesy of New Castle County.

On Friday, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced the county’s allocation of $50,000 of federal CARES Act funding to support the shelter in Lewes.

“The state had an allocation [COVID CARES Act], but we went ahead and requested it from New Castle County,” said State Sen. Ernie Lopez. “They had their own COVID dollars that they were able to spend for the CARES Act.”

The Lewes shelter at the former Troop 7 headquarters opened last week serving the greater Cape region. It is one of seven Code Purple shelters in Sussex County through an agreement with Love INC of Mid-Delmarva.

Two of a total of 15 beds inside one of several rooms at the former Delaware State Police Troop #7 building on Route 1 in Lewes.

The $50,000 is earmarked for renovation and upgrade.

“We’re looking to put a working kitchen in [and] renovate the basement area because some bathroom/shower facilities need work,” said Sen. Lopez.

On Nov. 20, the five-member Commission on State Surplus Real Property cast unanimous approval to the temporary access agreement between Love INC and the state to utilize the former Troop 7 location as a Code Purple shelter.

That memorandum of understanding included a stipulation that the Lewes shelter would open on all nights, regardless of temperature, through April 1, Sen. Lopez said.

A state-imposed temperature restriction was in place last season when the site came on board in January, meaning on nights above 32 degress the shelter could not open.

Ms. Kent talks with a reporter regarding the new overnight cold weather shelter.

Sen. Lopez and Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, Delaware’s Speaker of the House, pressed for no restriction for this season.

Most Sussex Code Purple shelters run through mid-March. Sen. Lopez said the agreement for the Lewes site runs through April 1, which would allow the building to be used “as they close down their Code Purple season.”

The Lewes shelter has supportive partners, including the Community Resource Center based in Rehoboth.

“They provide a very critical need because the Love INC Troop 7 location will simply be an overnight shelter. The Community Resource Center will be piggybacking off the overnight services by providing daytime services,” Sen. Lopez said.

Susan Kent stands in one of several rooms on the first floor of the former Delaware State Police Troop #7 building.

The Lewes shelter welcomed overnight guests last week.

Across Code Purple Sussex there remains a plea for help.

“We really need volunteers – intake and overnight,” said Nikki Gonzalez, Code Purple Sussex Director.

Code Purple Sussex shelters locations include:

• Pathways Building at Stein Highway Church of God, 425 Stein Highway, Seaford;

• Grace Seaford Church, 805 Atlanta Road, Seaford;

• Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St., Milford;

• Milford Nazarene, 11 NW Salevan Place, Milford;

• Laurel Nazarene, 100 Walnut Drive, Laurel;

• Georgetown Presbyterian Church, 203 N. Bedford St., Georgetown;

• Former Troop 7 barracks, Lewes.

These are gender specific sites, and additional information is available at the Code Purple website: https://codepurplesussexcounty.com/code-purple-shelters/.

Guests must call Love INC at 629- 7050 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Hotline at 519-0024 Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.