It might not seem like much to you but a hot chocolate from McDonald’s can help warm the hands of a person freezing on the street. It’s a temporary band-aid but it can definitely help.
Each winter, thousands of homeless New Yorkers struggle to survive on the streets, while high winds, frigid temperatures, snow, and freezing rain can put them at risk of life-threatening illnesses like hypothermia and frostbite. The City declares a Code Blue warning in extreme weather. It is important to note that homeless individuals and families always have a right to shelter in New York City regardless of the weather, but there are expanded outreach and drop-in services as well as different shelter and intake rules when Code Blue is in effect.
Cold weather is dangerous for this vulnerable population, but here are a few ways you can help homeless New Yorkers this winter:
- Unless you feel unsafe doing so, ask if the person is ok, has someplace to go and needs help.
- Call 311 and ask for “Homeless Outreach” to let the City know that there is a person in need of emergency shelter (Note: When the temperature or wind chill is forecast to fall below 32 degrees, the call might be re-routed to 911).
- If the person seems to require medical attention, call 911 for emergency assistance.
We have to do better to help people living on the street and shelters.