Throughout the region, the homeless and poor are struggling to stay warm as temperatures plunge below freezing. The overnight cold is expected to last through the weekend.
Burlington and Camden Counties have issued a "Code Blue" alert, advising residents to take precautions. Every municipality must provide shelter during a Code Blue.
Gloucester County does not issue alerts, but residents were urged to call the county or the 211 center for assistance, said Ed Smith, superintendent of the county Division of Social Services.
"We don't have street outreach," Smith said, encouraging residents to visit social services to determine whether they qualify for help. "We work to make sure they're not out on the street."
Gino Lewis, the director of Community Development in Camden County, said Camden City has several shelters and a warming center at Joseph's House on Stevens Street open during the day.
Volunteers of America encourages those living outdoors to seek refuge, including those living in Tent City.
"A lot of them are quite adept with dealing with this cold weather," Lewis said. "It's not what we like to see, and we do encourage them to come in."
Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez issued a statement asking family and friends to help one another.
"During these weather emergencies, we encourage everyone to check on elderly or handicapped relatives and neighbors that live alone," Rodriguez said. "It is important that the most vulnerable among us are not left without heat or electricity."
Burlington County has at least three designated shelters. For more information, call 866-234-5006, which can provide shelter addresses.
"We try to get everyone inside," said Ralph Shrom, Burlington County spokesman. Police and health workers have been looking for those living outdoors to persuade them to move inside, Shrom said.
Trout said that this week, eight people sought overnight housing at the church, which can sleep 14. The church, which opens the shelter at 7 p.m., provides dinner, breakfast, and food to go.
Those seeking help generally have lost their jobs and homes, such as the mother with her children.
"In her case, she was living with a friend who was evicted and she had no place to go," Trout said.
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For general cold-weather precautions, check the CDC website, www.bt.cdc.gov/ disasters/winter, or www.ready.nj.gov/plan/winter.html. To find out qualifications for state aid for heating costs, call 1-800-510-3102.