City officials want to get homeless off the streets during “Code Blue”

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PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services has declared the second Code Blue of the winter season effective today at 6:00 pm through Wednesday, December 21st at 6:00 am in an effort to prevent weather related deaths among people experiencing homelessness during dangerously cold temperatures.

Homeless Services issues a Code Blue emergency warning when the National Weather Service predicts wind chill temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, or precipitation with temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

During a Code Blue, the city’s homeless outreach teams increase staffing and foot patrols throughout the city and provide homeless people access to shelter 24 hours a day. Also, during a Code Blue, Philadelphia Police are authorized to transport homeless people to a shelter.

City officials urge concerned citizens who see a person living on the street to call Homeless Outreach at 215-232-1984 and report the sighting. Homeless outreach teams are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Officials discourage the public from providing the homeless with items such as sleeping bags, tents, mattresses and food, which enable them to remain outside during the extreme cold instead of coming into a shelter – and subjects them to further danger and health risks stemming from prolonged exposure to the elements.