BUFFALO, N.Y (WIVB)– With cold temperatures still coming in from Monday’s winter storm, The Western New York Coalition for the Homeless issued a Code Blue in the City of Buffalo.
Harbor House on Genesee Street is one of four shelters in Erie County that acts as a Code Blue Shelter. The organization provides a warm bed and a hot meal for the homeless when temperatures drop below 15 degrees.
” We want to get people safe off the streets so they won’t suffer from frostbite or freeze to death,” said Harbor House code blue employee Teontay Holmes.
Holmes has worked at Harbors House for three years and says he works hard to keep the most vulnerable among us safe.
” Every life matters and we try to make every life we save count.”
John Clifton has been living on the streets for almost three months. He says if it wasn’t for the Code Blue he would like be freezing somewhere under a bridge.
“I’m very grateful that they’re taking care of me,” Clifton said.
The life saving emergency service served more than 900 individuals in 2018 within the City of Buffalo and Erie County.
“We saw last year what can happen if someone does not get help during extreme weather. It was heartbreaking. One life lost is one too many,” said WNY Coalition for the Homeless Code Blue chair Jean Bennett .
Starting Tuesday, the following Code Blue Shelters will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Harbor House at 241 Genesee St, Buffalo
- Holy Cross at 412 Niagara St., Buffalo
- St Luke’s at 325 Walden Ave, Buffalo
- Code Blue at the ROC, 765 Olean Rd, East Aurora
Individuals on the street can go to the NFTA Metro Transportation Center or call 211 to be picked up if they cannot access the NFTA.
For those outside the City of Buffalo, the Rural Outreach Center provides Code Blue Shelter when the temperature or windchill in Southern Erie County is below 32 degrees. In Southern Erie County call 716-288-1233.
ROC also has an outreach van that picks up homeless individuals in these areas and bring them to a shelter.