The first big chill of the season has kept the City of Wilmington extra busy, trying to shelter homeless people.
Each night since December 7th, the city has activated a nightly program known as Code Purple. Homeless people who cooperate are taken to the Salvation Army shelter at 4th and Shipley Streets. They are provided with a place to sleep and a continental breakfast the following morning.
Wilmington Emergency Operations Director George Giles says police officers are most aware of locations where homeless people are known to gather.
“Any city workers, or any of the ambulance crews around the city, or if somebody calls us about a homeless person who might be in need, we do investigate that,” Giles says. “We do offer them assistance, (but) the person themselves has the right to either go, or refuse to go.”
Giles says some homeless people don’t want to come in from the cold, due to the possibility of losing the few belongings they have.
In the past week, about 260 people have been sheltered. Some nights, 35 to 60 people may be brought in. Others, there may not be a single visitor
Anyone with questions or concerns about the Code Purple program may call the Office of Emergency Operations at 302-576-CITY.