Burlington, Camden Counties urging homeless to come inside

Posted: January 04, 2013

Burlington and Camden Counties have issued a "Code Blue" weather alert advising residents to stay inside while temperatures remain in the 20s.

Weather forecasters are expecting the cold stretch to persist until early next week when temperatures are predicted to rise above freezing.

Today's alert in Burlington County is the third time the county issued a cold weather warning since November, said Ralph Shrom, Burlington County spokesman.

"We try to get everyone inside," Shrom said. Most of more than 800 homeless people in the county are already in temporary shelters, he said.

Police and health workers will be looking for those who live outdoors to persuade them to move inside, Shrom said.

In Camden County, municipal officials have an emergency plan to help those who may be without heat or shelter.

"During these weather emergencies, we encourage everyone to check on elderly or handicapped relatives and neighbors that live alone," said a release issued by Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez.

"It is important that the most vulnerable among us are not left without heat or electricity," the statement said.

Ed Smith, superintendent of the Gloucester County Division of Social Services, said those in need of assistance should call the 211 center.

"We don't have street outreach," Smith said, encouraging residents to visit social services to determine whether they qualify for housing. "We work to make sure they're not out on the street."

Contact staff writer Barbara Boyer at 856-779-3838, bboyer@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @BBBoyer.

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