Saratoga Mayor-Elect wants Code Blue in city

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Updated: 12/18/2013 10:29 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The City of Saratoga Springs will hold an emergency meeting this week, to work on a plan to help people find shelter during the winter months.

Mayor-Elect Joanne Yepsen told NEWS10 ABC she is proposing a "Code Blue" system, similar to the one in Albany.

As the temperature falls below 10 degrees, or there is more than 12 inches of snow in the forecast, Albany Police patrol to look for people who may otherwise stay out in the elements. Officers encourage those people to go to a shelter.

Officers say having an emergency shelter for the homeless when its frigid outside would give them another tool to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

In Saratoga Springs last week, Nancy Pitts, 54, was discovered dead behind a senior center, where she slept for the night. Police believe she died of exposure.

One homeless man, who did not want to be identified said the brutal winter temperatures can prove to be life threatening.

"Two weeks ago I was in a tent on Saratoga Lake," said the man.

He said he has spent many nights on the streets without a home, and only a tent over his head.

Yepsen said she will hold an emergency meeting on a Code Blue system Friday.

Currently, people who are homeless can be referred to places like Shelters of Saratoga through social services, but there is paperwork involved. However, most don't come to sign papers just to spend a night away from the elements.

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