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Cold Weather Safety
Homeless Outreach

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) continues to use its Cold Weather Emergency Procedure, called Code Blue, to protect unsheltered homeless people, who are more at risk for exposure deaths during the cold winter months. During Code Blue conditions DHS doubles its outreach efforts. Community members who identify someone on the street they believe needs assistance should call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team; in an emergency, community members should call 911. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual's condition and take appropriate action.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) continues to use its Cold Weather Emergency Procedure, called Code Blue, to protect unsheltered homeless people, who are more at risk for exposure deaths during the cold winter months. During Code Blue conditions DHS doubles its outreach efforts. Community members that identify someone on the street they believe needs assistance should call 311 and ask for the Mobile Outreach Response Team; in any emergency community members should call 911. The Department of Homeless Services will send an outreach team to the location to assess the individual's condition and take appropriate action.

Outreach workers are on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are trained to:

  • Identify and regularly monitor people who may be at risk during cold weather.
  • Assist at-risk people to voluntarily come indoors.

During a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency, housing options for the homeless include the following:

  • Shelters: During an emergency, homeless people can access any shelter. Beds are available system-wide to accommodate anyone brought in by outreach teams or walk-ins.
  • Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24 hours a day when Code Blue procedures are in effect, taking in as many as people as possible for the duration of inclement weather. Drop-in staff also can make arrangements for homeless people at other citywide facilities.
  • Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless people may be transported to these low-threshold housing options where they may go directly from the street to a bed.

For more information about cold weather safety and how you can prepare for emergencies call 311 or visit Office of Emergency Management.