The Department of Homeless Services has policies called “Code Blue” for winter nights when at least one of the following extreme weather conditions occurs:

  • Temperature falls below 32 degrees or wind chill below 0 degrees (Fahrenheit).
  • Ice storms or freezing rain OR snow greater than 6 inches.

If you see someone on the street in need of shelter, you can call 311, give a description of the person and the location, and an outreach team will be dispatched to assist. You don’t have to do anything else but call. You don’t need to approach the person or wait for anyone to arrive. Just call 311.

FYI about Code Blues

From Coalition for the Homeless

  • 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.
  • For single adults who have been in shelter in the past can access any shelter, not just their assigned shelter for the night in question.
  • Cooling / heating 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 on these dates – clients who have been sanctioned can return to the shelter for the night in question, if necessary.

Kari J added: Don’t forget, please use your unlimited MetroCards to swipe the less fortunate in – this is legal and will help people stay warm. (Support for swiping for others).