As 2014 arrives with a furry of snow and frigid temperatures, Delaware County Council reminds residents that various County agencies offer additional supports to the homeless, elderly and vulnerable residents when temperatures drop below freezing.
Meteorologists are predicting a return of cold air for the first week in January.
When temperatures drop below freezing, and conditions pose a threat to individuals who are homeless or medically fragile, a network of agencies goes to work to help people obtain shelter, food and clothing. The agencies and efforts are detailed in the 2013-14 Delaware County Cold Weather Plan, available to residents on the county website at www.co.delaware.pa.us:
The Delaware County Adult ServicesDivision of the Office of Behavioral Health partners with various agencies to offer additional services through the Homeless Services Coalition of Delaware County. They also provide a winter shelter directory that is distributed to police, municipalities, school districts and other officials.
The County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) extends outreach to senior citizens, including having case managers check on seniors who may be vulnerable. Tips on how to stay warm and safe during winter’s cold weather are available on COSA’s informational weatherline at (610) 872-1558 from Dec. 1 to April 1.
The CountyDepartment of Intercommunity Health provides information to help people avoid medical emergencies, such as hypothermia and frost bite, during Code Blue conditions.
Community Action Agency of Delaware County (CAADC) is the county’s anti-poverty agency that can assist economically disadvantaged households.
During the coming week, the Winter Shelter Plan will be in effect and a network of agencies will work to help people obtain shelter, food and clothing. The services include extended hours at day centers, overflow shelter beds, transportation to emergency shelters, and expanded street outreach.
The county’s Adult Services Division, based in Upper Darby, participates in the leadership of the Homeless Services Coalition. During a Code Blue, authorities can take homeless adults to shelter programs, operated by the Salvation Army Chester Corps and Connect, a project of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Emergency Shelter Directory and the Survival Guide to Homeless Services detail a variety of services including shelters, housing, meals, treatment programs and government services. Both of these resources are posted on the County website.
For people who are not homeless, but may encounter cold-weather difficulty there are other resources, including the Community Action Agency.
People who are over age 60 and need assistance during a Code Blue can also contact the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) at 610 490-1300. COSA Director Denise Stewart said COSA’s case managers look in on elderly residents who might be vulnerable during extreme weather conditions.
“With more cold weather ahead of us, we want to ensure the health and safety of all of our residents,” said County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle. “We encourage people to check on neighbors, elderly friends and family members and pets during the winter months to ensure that they have enough heat and food to get through periods of bad weather.”
* For information or to obtain a copy of the current Emergency Shelter Directory and Survival Guide, contact Adult Services at 610-713-2571 or 610-713-2365.