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Buffalo expands Code Blue to include daytime warming shelter

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Chris Caya/WBFO News
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With the arrival of colder temperatures, the City of Buffalo has implemented Code Blue, the city's emergency weather safety plan for the homeless.

Code Blue Collaborative chairperson Jean Bennett says this year, the program has been expanded to provide daytime shelter when the temperature falls to 32 degrees or below.

"When it's below 32 degrees, there will be a daytime warming center which will provide space for people to remain indoors so that they don't have to exit when Code Blue ends at 8 a.m.," Bennett said at a news conference Wednesday.

This year's shelters are The Matt Urban Hope Center at 385 Paderewski Drive, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy at 325 Walden Avenue and Harbor House at 241 Genesee Street. Harbor House will serve as the daytime shelter.

Code Blue also provides breakfast and a warm meal. The program served over 630 homeless people last winter and Bennett said for the first time since the program began in 2009, there were no severe weather fatalities.

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Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News
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Rich Products is supplying a new van to help transport homeless people to warming shelters on cold nights.

"That is very important. We don't want to lose people because there are not places for them to go when the weather gets very cold," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

The city provides $55,000 annually for the program. To help transport people to shelters, Rich Products is providing a new van and a driver.