Enduring extreme cold: What resources are available in Philly, South Jersey, and Delaware?

Thousands of people across the Delaware Valley are unhoused, and face significant challenges when confronted with severe winter weather.

How states, counties, and municipalities respond to extreme cold varies across the board. Most have “Code Blue” designations, or something comparable, that signal additional measures are in place to help protect people who are unsheltered.

Here’s how cities and counties across the Delaware Valley respond to dangerous cold, and what resources are made available to those in need.


During extremely cold weather — when temperatures feel near or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit — Philadelphia officials will declare a Code Blue.

During a Code Blue event, the city implements special measures to keep people who are experiencing homelessness safe. Those measures include 24-hour outreach to find unhoused people and transport them to safe indoor spaces and opening all available beds within the city’s emergency housing network for those in need.

If residents see a person who appears to be unhoused during a Code Blue, they are urged to contact the city’s Homeless Outreach hotline at 215-232-1984.

Residents concerned about an older adult during extremely cold weather are urged to contact Philadelphia Corporation for Aging at 215-765-9040.

  • December 25, 2023
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