City declares first Code Blue of winter

The City of Philadelphia has declared a Code Blue for the first time this winter.

Code Blue, a series of “extraordinary measures to preserve the lives of chronically homeless individuals,” triggers 24-hour outreach coverage in which volunteers and police are mandated to bring people living on the streets inside, by activating the Court Ordered Transportation to Shelter procedure, if necessary.

It also allows access to vacant beds within an Office of Supportive Housing-funded network of emergency housing that lets people stay indoors during the day and prohibits
evictions from emergency housing.

The Office of Supportive Housing, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Health, calls a Cold Blue, “when winter conditions pose a threat of serious harm or death to homeless individuals without shelter,” according to the website.

A Code Blue is also called when the National Weather Bureau predicts a wind chill temperature of 20 degrees or below or precipitation with below-freezing temperatures.

If necessary, police stations and other public buildings may be made available for homeless people during Code Blue, if there is no space elsewhere.

The city asks anyone who sees a homeless person on the streets tonight to call Project H.O.M.E.’s outreach line at 215-232-1984.



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