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As cold weather sinks in, many parts of the country become covered in snow. Even in warmer areas, ice storms and freezing rain can become dangerous. In New York City, the municipal government issues a Code Blue whenever temperatures get too cold.

What Is a Code Blue?

While many people are snug inside of a warm apartment, other residents are spending the night outside. The New York City Police Department and the Department of Homeless Services want to make sure that all homeless people can sleep in a warm room during cold weather. When a Code Blue is declared, the departments work together to make sure that every vulnerable person is contacted every four hours.

Getting Emergency Help During Colder Weather

Other than contacting the city’s most vulnerable, the departments work to make sure that safe havens, shelters and drop-in centers are available. All of the drop-in centers are opened for 24 hours a day if a Code Blue is in effect. The goal is to make sure as many people as possible can come inside and stay out of the inclement weather. The staff members can also work to make additional arrangements for the homeless at other facilities.

To make sure everyone has a warm place to sleep, shelters work overtime during a Code Blue. If a Code Blue has been declared, homeless adults can go to any shelter. Beds are opened up across the system so that walk-ins can find a place to rest. Outreach teams also work to find individuals who are at risk and bring them into the shelter.

The last change during a Code Blue is for stabilization beds and safe beds. If individuals are spending their nights on the street, there are options available to them. Chronically homeless people are taken to low-threshold housing options like safe havens. Once there, they can enjoy a respite from the cold.

Cold weather can be dangerous for vulnerable populations. The frigid rain and snow can increase the chances of becoming ill. In some cases, it can even be fatal. New Yorkers can help protect vulnerable people in the city. Anyone who sees someone in need of medical care should call 911 right away. The HOME-STAT outreach team can also help homeless individuals locate a shelter. To reach the HOME-STAT team, call 311. With their help, the individual can get homelessness services and a warm place to sleep.