ELLY COUNTY, NY — With the arrival of cold weather in western New York, the topic of code blue is common.
While this has been covered in the news and on social media, the impact of Code Blue may be less obvious than for those supporting programs that provide temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness. I can’t.
Gene Bennett, co-chair of the WNY Homeless Coalition, said the joint program began as a volunteer effort 13 years ago, but last year it became a “huge project” serving 1,300 unique people. .
“Code Blue provides shelter space for homeless and homeless neighbors and provides food, showers and laundry,” Bennett said.
With the support of community organizations such as Hearts for the Homeless and Saint Luke’s Mission of Mercy, as well as countless others, Bennett said Code Blue is critical to keeping his homeless neighbors in West New York safe during the winter months. explained that it has a role to play.
Temperatures below freezing or below 15 degrees Fahrenheit will trigger one of two alerts: Code Blue 32 or Code Blue 15. In the event of a near-zero emergency or extreme weather, additional responses will be triggered. However, all Code Blues open two (if not more) day warming shelters and night dwellings.
- Holy Cross 412 Niagara St. Buffalo, NY 14201 (6pm – 7am). Must be able to use stairs.
- 586 Genesee St, Buffalo, 14204 – Easily accessible location, open 6pm-7am (this location used to be a women’s shelter but is now open to everyone due to Code Blue).
Bennett said 130 people will be visiting the shelter overnight when Code Blue is in effect. She said there are many people who have recently experienced homelessness for the first time, who have lost family members, jobs, or may have been displaced after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The fact is they have no idea how to get through this process … so we provide people with a lot of services to make sure homelessness is shortened,” Bennett said. .
Click on the player above to learn more about the impact and hear from someone who was grateful for the help they received during their stay in the shelter.