How to Help Homeless New Yorkers During Cold Weather

  • Each winter, thousands of homeless New Yorkers struggle to survive on the streets, while 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 in extreme weather. 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 the temperature or wind chill is forecast to fall below 32 degrees, the call might 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