Libraries have become the catch-all for many activities and resources, from distributing tax forms to hosting AARP Safe Driving Courses, and now from Narcan providers (as discussed in last week’s column) to homeless shelters. In a county without a homeless shelter, addressing that need is even more important. Because of this, we have partnered with the Community Action Partnership (CAP) and multiple other institutions across the county to become a “warming site” under the Code Blue Initiative.
Issued by Governor Cuomo in 2016, the Code Blue initiative is a state-wide emergency declaration that directs the State of New York to provide resources and aid to anyone who may be homeless during the winter months (specifically November 1st through March 31st). In response, CAP has worked tirelessly to establish an official system of warming sites across Madison County, including here at the Hamilton Public Library. You may notice the new blue light bulb sticker on our front door – that distinguishes us as a warming site, which is a location that homeless individuals or families can enter and remain for a period of time to warm up, have access to free refreshments, and receive information on assistance during cold weather.
While we at the library are ready and willing to provide any help we can during our normal hours, we cannot stay open indefinitely. Thankfully, the Madison County Department of Social Services and local law enforcement have also offered their services to provide transportation to anyone who may need a safe place to spend the night. We are so grateful to CAP, the Department of Social Services, and our local law enforcement for their efforts to provide everyone in our community the help and support they need to have a safe and warm winter. Thank you for reading, and stay warm out there!