Multiple county agencies on-hand
to help residents weather winter conditions
Warm up with these cold weather resources
While we’ve enjoyed mild temperatures so far this December, forecaster say frigid winter weather is on its way. Delaware County Council reminds residents that there are several resources to help elderly, vulnerable and low-income individuals stay safe and warm. Denise Stewart, Director of the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA), left, and Human Services Director Joe Dougherty, right, share some of the county’s cold weather resources with Councilman Dave White, Council’s liaison to Human Services.
Weather forecasters are warning residents that they shouldn’t get used to the mild, “sweatshirt weather” we’ve been enjoying in December. Come January, temperatures will drop and there will be multiple chances for snow and freezing temperatures.
No matter when temperatures drop below freezing, or when we get socked by a Nor’easter, Delaware County Council wants residents to be prepared.
County Council reminds residents that various County agencies offer additional supports to the homeless, elderly and vulnerable residents when harsh, freezing conditions take place during winter months.
When temperatures drop below freezing, and conditions pose a threat to individuals who are homeless, elderly or medically fragile, a network of agencies goes to work to help people obtain shelter, food and assistance.
“There are several ways that County agencies try to help residents cope with extreme weather conditions, from sheltering the homeless to reaching out to the elderly,” said County Councilman Dave White. “It’s important for residents to know about these services so we can look out for each other. No one should suffer through a blizzard without shelter or heat.”
White detailed the agencies that assist people year-round and during extreme weather conditions.
- The Delaware County Division of Adult and Family Services 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.
- The County Department 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.
County staff can also help residents connect with home energy assistance programs. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families pay their heating bills. PECO also offers a CARES Program for people experiencing a hardship, a low-income usage reduction program and discounted rates for low-income families.
Councilman White detailed various services for the elderly and vulnerable residents.
“Delaware County has many programs that assist people year-round, but we want to stress that extra precautions are taking place during the winter months,” White said. “We especially want our local police and social services agencies to know about these resources as they come in contact with residents who might need help.”
- The county’s Adult and Family Services Division, based in Upper Darby, participates in the leadership of the Homeless Services Coalition, a group of 90 individuals and organizations dedicated to providing services to the homeless.
During cold weather, authorities can take homeless adults to shelter programs, which are operated by the Salvation Army Chester Corps and Connect, a project of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Mental Health Association’s Connect-by Night (CBN) Program transports people to host churches from their office located at 7200 Chestnut Street in Upper Darby. The Connect program is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and transportation to the host churches begins at 9 p.m.
Each year, the Office of Adult and Family Services distributes an updated Emergency Shelter Directory to all police stations, municipalities, hospital emergency rooms and social service agencies.
In addition, the office publishes a Survival Guide to Homeless Services that details a variety of services including shelters, housing, meals, treatment programs and government services. Both of these resources are posted on the County website at www.co.delaware.pa.us.
- Elderly residents are also vulnerable during winter storms. People who are over age 60 and need assistance can 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.
- Residents are encouraged to register for the DelcoAlert notification system that sends messages to people’s mobile devices to alert them of weather emergencies, road closures and other extreme weather situations. Visit the county website and click on the yellow DelcoAlert icon.
* For information or to obtain a copy of the current Emergency Shelter Directory and Survival Guide, contact Adult and Family Services at 610-713-2571 or 610-713-2365.
* Resources include:
Salvation Army: 151 W. 15th St., Chester. Call 610-874-0423
Connect: 7200 Chestnut St., Upper Darby. Call 267-507-3970.
Community Action Agency: Call 610-874-8451.
- For information on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), call 1-866-857-7095.
- For information on PECO energy assistance programs call 1-800-774-7040.