Saratoga's first code blue in effect Christmas Eve - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Saratoga's first code blue in effect Christmas Eve

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Those running Saratoga's first ever Code Blue program say they want to keep the homeless from sleeping in Congress Park on nights when the temperature is expected to drop.

Saratoga Springs, for the first time ever, has created an initiative to helping the homeless stay warm and sheltered during extreme winter weather. The program organized just last week is now up and running with its Code Blue Emergency beginning at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Code Blue is an effort to aid the homeless in seeking shelter rather than sleeping outside in 10-degree or lower temperatures. The homeless can come to St. Peter's Church on Hamilton Street and sleep on a warm bed and have a hot meal.

The program is being modeled after the only other shelter in the Capital Region that provides Code Blue, The Capital City Rescue Mission.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Elect Joanne Yepsen and others felt compelled to act when a homeless woman died this month while outside overnight in the city.

"I'm sorry I didn't know her better and I think we all feel so much remorse that we didn't do this sooner and that we're not going to let this ever happen again," said Yepsen.

Liz Hitt, who is in charge of calling for a Code Blue Emergency said what the Saratoga program needs most, is the public's support.

"If you'd like to donate in support of this program you can send your check to Shelters of Saratoga," said Hitt. "Just mark it Code Blue. We're also going to need volunteers. We're happy to train volunteers."

Those organizing Tuesday night's Code Blue say the only way to spread this information to the homeless is by word of mouth, so they've been on the streets letting them know about the shelter and handing out flyers telling them where to go.

If you know of anyone or see someone outside who needs shelter you should call Saratoga Police or direct them to St. Peter's Church.

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