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Cold NJ temperatures give Code Blue alerts an early start

New Jersey is returning to November-like temperatures ahead of the holiday weekend, but residents got a multi-day reminder of just how cold the Garden State can get during the winter months.

And counties across the state have been conducting an early test of their systems, which help the most vulnerable residents when the weather is unbearable.

“The law requires us to provide shelter when the temperature drops below 32 degrees,” said Debbie-Ann Anderson, director of the Union County Department of Human Services.

Last winter alone, the county processed over 5,000 placements in heat centers, boarding houses and hotels/motels. Code Blue was activated 91 times during the season.

“I think this Code Blue season is going to have a lot of volume,” Anderson said. “Because of COVID, many people are now more vulnerable.”

New Jersey Weather Forecast

Generally, areas in New Jersey that are open to the public during Code Blue activation will welcome guests from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. For example, a church can become a warm-up center, or a homeless shelter can temporarily increase its capacity.

According to NJ 211, the Hudson County Heat Center will be open every night through March 31, regardless of weather conditions. The same goes for a place in Ocean County.

The resources and websites available to the homeless and vulnerable may not be the same for all Code Blue alerts.

This page shows you where and what days Code Blue is in effect in the state. It also lists websites that can open their doors during Code Blue activation.

Locations were activated in each county earlier this week due to cold temperatures.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services awarded counties a total of $2.5 million in November 2020 to support their efforts to protect the homeless in freezing temperatures and hazardous weather.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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