Cold temperatures are keeping Code Blue Shelters across our region busy and stressing their resources. Time Warner Cable News reporter Barry Wygel spoke with community activists in Glens Falls who say they are working to make their shelter a permanent fixture.
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Joy Neuman lives by the motto, pay it forward.
"I was in the same position years ago when I was young, and someone took me in, and I started volunteering, and I have been doing it for over 30 years," said Joy Neuman, a volunteer at The Open Door.
As the so-called dorm mom at the Glens Falls Code Blue shelter, she says she enjoys every day.
"I wish every single person out there would work one day with these guys, just to know what they are really like," said Neuman.
This year's un-ceasing frigid temperatures have put intense pressure on the region's shelters, something it was difficult to prepare for.
"We are already double the number of code blue days from last winter," said Kim Cook, president of The Open Door in Glens Falls.
Glens Falls was one of the shelters that opened for the first time this year. Without it, organizers say the city's homeless would be left with few options.
"When it's really cold. They have to keep moving, they walk. They might sleep behind a dumpster, of course they don't get very good sleep," said Cook.
Community organizers say one of the most difficult parts of soliciting donors and volunteers is getting people over the misconceptions about who the people are that they actually serve.
"They are not bad people, they want to work. They want to be back out there on their own," said Neuman.
"Homelessness isn't about lack of money. It's about a lack of community, and a lack of relationships," said Cook.
Activists in Glens Falls are working to make the Code Blue shelter a permanent fixture, but need help in doing so.
"If everybody that ever got help from anybody gave back... we wouldn't have this problem," said Neuman.
Organizers have pledged to keep the Code Blue open on cold nights until the spring, then they will meet to come up with expansion plans before next winter.
To learn how you can help the Open Door Ministries, that operates the Glens Falls Code Blue shelter you can visit opendoor-ny.org