Know Your Rights – Code Blue & Code Red

Extreme Cold – Code Blue

What is Code Blue?

The Department of Homeless Services has a policy called “Code Blue” for winter nights when the temperature drops to 32 degrees or below, including wind-chill, between 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM.

What Changes When Code Blue is in Effect?

On these nights Department of Homeless Services policies are relaxed to ensure everyone is warm and safe.  This includes:

  • Drop in centers are required to take as many clients as possible, within the Department of Buildings restrictions.
  • Anyone in need of a place to go can walk into single adult or family shelters, without undergoing typical intake and eligibility procedures for the night in question.
  • Clients can access any shelter, not just their assigned shelter for the night in question.
  • Warming buses may be provided.
  • More outreach teams will be on the streets to offer services and shelter.
  • No shelter suspensions or sanctions can be carried out on these dates, clients who have been sanctioned can return to the shelter for the night in question, if necessary.
  • Anyone in need of a warm place to go can walk into hospital emergency room.

Extreme Heat – Code Red

What is Code Red?

The Department of Homeless Services has a policy called “Code Red” for extreme heat. Code Red Level 1 is in effect from 12pm-8pm when forecasted high temperatures reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for one day or more, or are forecasted to reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at any point for two consecutive days or more. Code Red Level 2 declaration occurs when forecasted high temperatures reach 105 degrees or more Fahrenheit for any duration or are forecasted to reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit for four days or more, and is in effect continually for the duration of the extreme heat.

What changes when Code Red is in effect?

  • Drop-in centers are required to take as many clients as possible.
  • Anyone in need of a place to go can walk into shelters, without undergoing typical intake and eligibility procedures for the night in question. For single adults who have been in shelter in the past this includes that clients can access any shelter, not just their assigned shelter for the night in question.
  • Cooling vans or centers may be provided.
  • More outreach teams will be on the streets to offer services and shelter.
  • No shelter suspensions or sanctions can be carried out, and clients who have been sanctioned can return to the shelter while Code Red is in effect, if necessary.
  • Anyone in need of a cool place to go can walk into hospital emergency room.

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