How to Help Homeless New Yorkers During Cold Weather
Thousands of homeless New Yorkers struggle to survive on the streets every night. As winter approaches, high winds, frigid temperatures, snow, and freezing rain can put them at risk of life-threatening illnesses like hypothermia and frostbite. The City declares a Code Blue warning when the temperature drops to 32 degrees or below, including wind-chill, between 4:00pm and 8:00am. It is important to note that homeless individuals and families always have a right to shelter in New York City regardless of the weather, but there are expanded outreach and drop-in services as well as different shelter and intake rules when Code Blue is in effect.
Cold weather is dangerous for this vulnerable population, but here are a few ways you can help homeless New Yorkers this winter:
- Unless you feel unsafe doing so, ask if the person is ok, has someplace to go and needs help.
- Call 311 and ask for “Homeless Outreach” to let the City know that there is a person in need of emergency shelter (Note: When Code Blue is in effect, the call will be re-routed to 911).
- If the person seems to require medical attention, call 911 for emergency assistance.
- Provide information about the Coalition’s Grand Central Food Program (GCFP), which offers warm food, coats, blankets, sleeping bags, and assistance 365 days of the year – even during dangerous winter weather like blizzards. Click here for a list of stops.
- Share this graphic with your friends and family, and spread the word on how to help our neighbors in need: