Last week, the Daily News reported that the Bloomberg Administration has started denying families emergency shelter even on nights when the temperature is below freezing. For many years, guaranteeing families access to shelter on cold nights, also known as “Code Blue” nights, was an important safeguard against the City’s error-ridden eligibility system. But sometime over the past year, this policy was quietly changed and families with vulnerable children have been put out in the cold as a result.
The New York Daily News told the story of Junior Clarke’s family. He, his wife, and their 4-year-old daughter were found ineligible for shelter because the City claimed they could return to Clarke’s mother-in-law’s home in Suffolk County. In reality, they have not been welcome there since 2008, but the Department of Homeless Services still told their family to leave the shelter intake center on a 13 degree night last month.
Even more shockingly, Mayor Bloomberg responded to questions about Code Blue last week by claiming “nobody’s sleeping on the streets,” highlighting the Mayor’s increasingly out-of-touch stance on the growing problem of homelessness.
Last week we launched a petition calling on the mayor to re-instate Code Blue protections for families. Thanks to the quick response of concerned New Yorkers, in just five days we’ve collected 500 signatures! But the campaign isn’t over. If you haven’t yet signed, tell the Mayor his Code Blue policy is putting vulnerable children and families at risk.