Extreme Cold: Code Blue

A graphic that reads "code blue: when temperatures in NYC drop below freezing, a Code Blue alert is activated.

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.
  • 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.