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Mayor Walsh reminds Boston residents of freezing temperatures; coordinates outreach efforts to homeless

February 2, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

With forecasters predicting heavy snowfall today and subzero temperatures tonight into early Tuesdaymorning, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and public health officials are reminding residents to take precautions due to the extreme cold. Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and help the City’s vulnerable populations during this dangerous cold snap, particularly homeless and elderly residents. In such cold conditions, health officials stress that all precautions must be taken to stay warm, as hypothermia or frostbite set in quickly in freezing temperatures.  

“We are very concerned about this current storm and its implications. Working with city departments and our private partners, we will take every precaution necessary to keep our residents safe,” said Mayor Walsh. “I ask that every Boston resident look out for their neighbor, whether it be in the home next door, or on our city’s streets.”

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has been in constant contact with their city-wide network of homeless shelter providers, outreach teams, city agencies, and first responders to coordinate outreach efforts to Boston’s homeless population before, during, and after the predicted snowfall and temperature drop.

Due to the severe wind chills forecasted, as low as -15 to –24 below zero, the homeless safety net will make every effort to encourage homeless individuals to seek shelter via the Pine Street Inn and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless outreach vans. During the heaviest snow, first responders will actively seek out individuals in need should outreach vans be inoperable in inclement weather.

During the winter’s cold, all BPHC shelters are kept open for daytime hours for the safety and well being of clients. Throughout the storm and subsequent temperature drop, BPHC will encourage guests to remain indoors throughout our shelter network for their safety. In preparation for the impending storm, BPHC Homeless Services staff has stocked each facility with necessary provisions and have increased maintenance, food preparation, and client services staffing.   

BPHC’s network of homeless service providers works to ensure that no client is ever without shelter. In addition, all those guests previously barred for non-violent offenses will be granted amnesty for their safety.

If you see a person in need of shelter, or if you are aware of a homeless individual who is not properly dressed for the cold, please call 911. If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, please go to the BPHC Woods-Mullen site, located at 794 Massachusetts Avenue in the South End at the corner of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.

For additional information on how to stay safe this winter, visit cityofboston.gov/cold.