Suffolk, Nassau organizations work to provide shelter from cold temperatures
Authorities and organizations across Long Island are working to provide people in need with shelter from potentially dangerous cold temperatures.
The Mitchel Field Administration Building opened as a warming center Wednesday night. It is one of several organizations in Nassau and Suffolk counties ensuring people have a warm place to stay over the weekend.
"In the last two years, we know of 25 individuals in Nassau and Suffolk counties that have died on the street because of the cold,” said Long Island Coalition for the Homeless executive director, Greata Guarton.
She says everyone is eligible for emergency shelter when temperatures fall below 32 degrees.
“A lot of folks have been denied shelter because they're just not eligible, but when the weather is this cold, they are eligible for emergency shelter. They can contact Nassau or Suffolk department of social services. They will get picked up and taken to a safe place, so they don't have to freeze,” she said.
Nassau, Wantagh Park and Cantiague Park in Hicksville will open warming centers starting Friday morning.
In Suffolk, there are several warming shelters, including the Riverhead Senior Center and the Clark Gillies Dix Hills Ice Rink.
Suffolk police tell News 12 that their officers will be checking wooded areas where homeless people are known to stay, as well as abandoned vehicles. Nassau Police will also provide rides to the shelters.
"They're not just law enforcement, they do so many things. They save lives, and one of the things they do is make sure that those who are out on the street that might be homeless have the opportunity to go to a warming center or shelter if they want to,” said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.