Code Blue shelters activated for the first time this season

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the cold winter weather comes an added danger for anyone stuck outside overnight. That is why Code Blue shelters in the Capital Region are opening their doors Monday and Tuesday nights.

When the weather and the wind chill get below a certain point, frostbite and hypothermia become a very real threat for anyone without a place to stay.

Shelters, like the one on South Pearl Street, are keeping their doors open Monday and Tuesday, prepared to take in over 200 people who have nowhere else to go.

Vivian McIntosh came to New York from Jamaica. He was looking for work and a fresh start. But after bad break after bad break, he instead found himself living on the streets in Albany.

With nowhere to turn, he found the Capital City Rescue Mission.

“This is a great place for me,” said McIntosh.

The shelter has helped give him a fighting chance at making a real life for himself.

The South Pearl Street location helps feel and shelter the homeless year-round, but when winter hits and the temperature drops, it becomes more crucial than ever.

“The danger for people who are homeless being outside is anything from frost bite to hypothermia,” said Perry Jones, the Executive Director at the shelter.

“We are open and we provide clothes, food, shelter, and medical services to those coming in from the cold,” he said.

Jones says this time of year they see about 240 people a night at the shelter.

“This is what we live for,” said Jones. “Watching people helped and blessed and watching them coming in from a very dire situation knowing they’re going to be safe tonight.”

When the temperature drops to 20 degrees or below, staying outside isn’t an option for anyone.

“We might have a cold winter coming upon us,” said Jones. “And we’re all going to have to take care of each other and take care of the needy.”

That care has made all the difference for people like McIntosh.

“Without the ministry, I would have died in the streets already,” he said.

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