Saratoga Springs adopts Code Blue program

Posted at: 12/21/2013 10:02 PM
Updated at: 12/26/2013 5:35 PM
By: Nicole Hart

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- An emergency shelter is now in place for the unsheltered homeless in Saratoga Springs. It's all in an effort to save lives. A Code Blue goes into effect for two reasons -- the temperature will be ten degrees or below, or there is twelve or more inches of snow forecasted. It's all to ensure no one is out in extreme weather conditions.

"We are going to put a Code Blue into place starting next week," announced Mayor-elect Joanne Yepsen.

Still in the very early stages, Saratoga Springs is following tragedy with hope. Almost one week after 54-year-old Nancy Pits, a homeless woman, froze to death, the community is coming together to keep something like this from happening again.

At a Friday press conference, Yepsen said, "the Code Blue Program is going to be to avoid putting anyone, anyone in jeopardy again."

Saratoga Springs is the last city in the Capital Region to implement a Code Blue program. Yepsen says they are still working on a budget for the program. However, thanks to the community, she isn't worried about funding.

"I can say I've had two or three very generous offers from the private sector," she said.

One of those donations being offered up came from Fingerpaint, an advertising agency located on Broadway. Bo Goliber, who handles community relations for Fingerpaint says they, as a company, are invested in the community and want to make their donation an annual pledge.

"With the death of Nancy and me having a personal connection to it from my previous job, as a group we felt like we really needed to step up," Goliber said.

Saratoga is planning on modeling its program after the one Albany put in place a few years ago. Perry Jones, executive director at the Capital City Rescue Mission, says he thinks this is a good move for Saratoga.

"Up in Saratoga, I applaud them for their courage to get out there and tackle this. Too bad it had to take a tragedy but it could very well prevent other ones," Jones said.

When a Code Blue is activated in the Spa City, those who need the shelter can go to the St. Peter's Auxiliary Building on Broadway. There they'll receive a hot meal and a warm place to stay for as long as Code Blue is in effect.