Code Blue season ends with more than 150 still looking for housing

Code Blue season ends with more than 150 still looking for housing

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ITHACA, N.Y.—Code Blue, the program in place in Tompkins County to house homeless individuals during the bitter cold winter months, ended its official guaranteed season on April 15 for the year, though New York State sees a few left over cold, snowy days and nights throughout the early spring. At a Health and Human Services Committee meeting toward the end of March, it was reported that there were more than 150 individuals who were utilizing the Code Blue program.

From November 15 through April 15, counties in New York State are required to seek out people who are unhoused whenever the weather drops below freezing at night and at least offer them shelter, either in an emergency shelter (like the St. John’s Community Services facility on West State Street) or in a local participating hotel. The state reimburses counties for expenses incurred during Code Blue.

Kit Kephart, commissioner of Social Services for Tompkins County, explained that while the official season of Code Blue contracted with New York State ends April 15, there are shoulder seasons throughout the spring that Tompkins County takes into account, and individuals utilizing the program won’t get kicked out on that date as winter and cold nights persist.

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