Long Freeze Stretches Code Blue to the Limit

Cumberland County’s Code Blue Warming Centers Seek Assistance Assisting Homeless During A Frigidly Cold Winter

On January 8, 2018, Bridgeton Mayor Albert B. Kelly wrote an opinion piece “Long Freeze Stretches Code Blue to the Limit” for the South Jersey Times.

Kelly who is also a co-founder of the Code Blue Coalition and M25 Initiative in Cumberland County make a plea for help with the County’s Code Blue shelters.

The brutal winter is testing the capacity and resolve of the three Code Blue shelter in Cumberland County which needs volunteers and other support. Cumberland County operates Code Blue shelters in Vineland, Bridgeton, and Millville.

Writes Kelly, “As you well know, it has been extremely cold lately, and for consecutive days at a time. The high temperatures in the 20s and teens and overnight lows in the single digits remind me of the importance of the Code Blue initiative in Cumberland County.”

Cumberland County’s Code Blue initiative of warming centers began after Joseph Hanshaw died outside in the cold in December 2013 in Bridgeton. His body was found in a clothing donation bind that he climbed into trying to keep warm on a cold night.

“Consecutive days below freezing means that volunteers who staff the warming centers overnight are tired because they have been going for many nights without a break. They’re not complaining out loud but, as I have worked many overnight shifts in the last two weeks, I can see it in their eyes,” writes Kelly.

Kelly urges anyone with the time to spare to volunteer for a night or two to give the regular volunteers a much-needed break. This winter is already setting records for the consecutive nights that the Code Blue warming center in Bridgeton has needed to stay open.

“Cumberland County’s Code Blue initiative, part of the M25 Initiative, is also tied to a more long-term Housing First strategy. The goal of Housing First is to move homeless households into their own permanent affordable apartments so that they will no longer need to use warming center or live on the streets.”

Long Freeze Stretches Code Blue to the Limit

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