Walsh asks for vigilance as snowstorm slams Boston - Metro US

Walsh asks for vigilance as snowstorm slams Boston

Boston's homeless population is at risk in this treacherous winter weather, according
Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

With forecasters predicting heavy snowfall today and subzero temperatures Monday night into early Tuesday morning, city officials are urging residents to put safety first and keep an eye on vulnerable neighbors.

“We are very concerned about this current storm and its implications. Working with city departments and our private partners, we will take every precaution necessary to keep our residents safe,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement Monday morning. “I ask that every Boston resident look out for their neighbor, whether it be in the home next door, or on our city’s streets.”

The city’s homeless and elderly residents are at heightened risk due to the cold snap, Walsh’s office said.

Health officials said stressed that severe wind chills forecasted, as low as -15 to –24 below zero, put people exposed to the elements at risk for hypothermia or frostbite.

The Boston Public Health Commission said it has been in constant contact with its city-wide network of homeless shelter providers, outreach teams, city agencies, and first responders to coordinate outreach efforts to Boston’s homeless population before, during, and after the predicted snowfall and temperature drop.

Homeless individuals should be encouraged to seek shelter at the Pine Street Inn and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless outreach vans, the health commission said. During the heaviest snow, first responders will actively seek out individuals in need should outreach vans be inoperable in inclement weather.

During the winter’s cold, all health commission shelters are kept open for daytime hours for the safety and well-being of clients, the commission said. In preparation for the impending storm, the health commission’s Homeless Services staff has stocked each facility with necessary provisions and have increased maintenance, food preparation, and client services staffing.

If you see a person in need of shelter, or if you are aware of a homeless individual who is not properly dressed for the cold, please call 911.

However, Massachusetts State Police on Monday pleaded with residents to avoid calling 911 for information on snow parking.

“Remember, 911 is for emergencies. Please don’t call 911 for road condition updates or to find out where ur car was towed. #MAsnow #MAwx,” @MassStatePolice tweeted just before 11 a.m.

Anyone in need of shelter, please go to the health commission’s Woods-Mullen site, located at 794 Massachusetts Ave. in the South End at the corner of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.

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