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Code Blue; Housing assistance in extreme cold

As extremely dangerous cold temperatures continue through the Southern Tier, housing remains a top priority in Broome County through the state’s Code Blue program.
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:22 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- As extremely dangerous cold temperatures continue through the Southern Tier, housing remains a top priority in Broome County through the state’s Code Blue program.

“Code Blue is across New York State and what that means is that from November until March, when the temperatures fall below 32 degrees with the wind chill for more than two hours, people can come into Department of Social Services (DSS) and we will find them and pay for emergency housing if they’re homeless,” said Broome County Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Nancy Williams.

The DSS has shelters at the YMCA, YWCA and Volunteers of America.

“We actually provide them with more resources so that they can house more people who need temporary housing during Code Blue,” Williams said. “If those shelters are full, we contract with some local hotels and motels and we can get folks a hotel room for the night.”

Williams said DSS has been averaging between 30 to 40 people a day coming in for housing, but the assistance does not end there.

“If they need clothing, we’ll connect them with resources to get clothing,” she said. “We’ll help if they need expedited SNAP benefits - we can help them get food - we can connect people with the different food pantries. Pretty much everything we would do for a regular recipient, we would do for Code Blue for anyone who walks in.”

Meanwhile Code Blue housing assistance is temporary, but Williams said the main goal is to find permanent housing.

“We really want them to come back in and we will work with them to identify any barriers that are in their life that have created the problems that have led to homelessness,” Williams said.

If you’re in need of housing, you should visit the DSS office on Main St. in Binghmanton as soon as possible.

If the office is closed, you can call 911 and dispatch will help connect you with the office.

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