NEW JERSEY – New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson recently announced the department will provide counties with $2.5 million to support local efforts to protect homeless individuals during freezing temperatures and dangerous weather.
Under state law, a Code Blue alert is declared when either temperatures drop below freezing or weather conditions pose a danger to the homeless population. The Code Blue alert directs local authorities to make shelters or warming centers available for individuals who are homeless and unsheltered.
“Protecting and assisting individuals struggling with homelessness is always a top priority, but that need is exacerbated during dangerous weather,” Johnson said. “This funding will prove vital to helping local authorities protect individuals in need of a safe place during dangerous cold weather. Assisting counties with these resources will help save lives and protect vulnerable individuals and families, while also opening the door to vital assistance for those in need.”
A county governing body is required to declare a Code Blue 24 to 48 hours before weather temperatures are predicted to reach 32 degrees or lower or wind child temperatures will be zero degrees or less for a period of two hours or more.
Counties must also alert municipalities with a documented homeless population of at least 10, social services agencies and nonprofit organizations that a Code Blue will be in effect.
And counties must provide emergency warming centers for the duration of the Code Blue alert.
County allocations are based on New Jersey’s Point in Time Count of individuals experiencing homelessness which is updated every year. The allocation breakdown by county is as follows: