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Delaware homeless shelters preparing for below zero windchills

Delaware Public Media

Single-digit temperatures are expected in Delaware Wednesday evening and First State homeless shelters are preparing to be busier than usual.

The overnight low forecasted in Dover Wednesday night is eight degrees with a wind chill below zero. The cold temperatures will last into Thursday with potential record-breaking daytime lows.

“With wind chills that cold you certainly want to limit any time outside. Hypothermia and frostbite become real dangers at those temperatures,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Jonathan O’Brien.

There are three non-affiliated Code Purple homeless shelter programs in Delaware, one in each county. New Castle County and Kent Counties programs each open up with temperatures below freezing. Sussex County’s Code Purple is open every night throughout the winter months.

“We will probably see an upswing. Anybody who can hang through low 30s will probably want to come in when it drops as low as it’s going to get,” said Code Purple Sussex Executive Director Nikki Gonzales.

Gonzales adds she will try to have more food and supplies available in preparation for a busy night.

“We might tell our people bringing in dinner to bring more because we’ll definitely have more people,” she said. “We ask for more hand-warmers when it’s this cold. A lot of them have to be outside during the day, so we try to get those kinds of supplies up.”

Gonzales points out peer resource centers in Sussex County will be open during the day for homeless guests—ACE in Seaford and Georgetown, and Brandywine in Milford.

Gonzales estimates Code Purple Sussex has served 150-200 homeless people so far this winter.

The Code Purple hotline in Delaware is 1 (800) 560-3372.

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