NEW YORK — More than 60,000 New Yorkers have no place to call home and the punishing cold weather can prove deadly for anyone sleeping on the streets.
“It’s extremely dangerous, you’re talking about people dealing with hypothermia, who are not prepared, but have to be outside,” said Juan De La Cruz, Program Director for Coalition for the Homeless.
Cruz and dozens of volunteers hit NYC streets Friday night giving out hot food, coats and sleeping bags to those in need.
“Every night we have three different vans and follow three routes, two in Manhattan and one in the Bronx, each van has approximately 250 meals inside,” said Cruz.
The city has issued a code blue warning, which is triggered when temperatures go down to freezing or below and means men and women who are homeless, will be accepted at any shelter.
“The mission of the night is get guys off the streets and out of the extreme cold,” he said.
Helen Wahba has been a volunteer with the organization for eight years.
These are some of the coldest days she’s been out in.
“The homeless people are waiting outside to eat, with no coats and gloves, helping them is the human thing to do,” she said.
The city urges you to call 311 this weekend if you see a homeless person out on the cold streets, adding an outreach team will be dispatched and help them get into a shelter.