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Weather Alert

Keeping the homeless safe in dangerously cold weather

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Officials say they won't turn anyone away

UTICA, NY - With dangerously low wind chills in the forecast, limiting your time outdoors is highly recommended, but what if you don't have a place to go to get out of the cold?

That's a problem Utica’s homeless population will be facing this winter.

With temperatures dipping into the teens Monday, and expected to go much lower over the next few days with dangerous wind chills, the Utica Rescue Mission is preparing for an increase in clientele. They’re doing things like making sure they have enough warm clothing and blankets for those coming in for assistance.

These days though, the shelter needs to worry about more than where they’re going to put everybody. They also need to worry about doing it safely during the pandemic.

“We don’t turn anybody away”, says Ernie Talerico, Director of Operations at the Utica Rescue Mission. “We’re here especially during the cold weather months. We are here to see people come in and we’re going to get them out of the elements. Right now we’re at full capacity. During these cold winter months we will make room. We’ll get people out of the cold. We have our service providers come in and help during the week with placement so we have open bed space or at least we’re not getting to overcapacity where we can’t take people in”.

Of course there’s plenty of sanitizer on hand and masks must be worn. Disinfecting is done twice a day and everybody must wear a mask.

If a client does show symptoms of Covid or isn’t feeling well, they’re isolated and tested for the coronavirus.

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