With Buffalo and cities across New York bracing for some of the coldest temperatures yet this winter, Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered more protection for the state’s homeless citizens.
An executive order announced on Sunday morning aims to ensure that homeless individuals across the state are directed to shelters when temperatures are below freezing.
“We believe as a state that we’re not going to leave anybody on the streets in the cold,” said Cuomo. “We’re going to have safe, clean, decent shelters, and that is a statewide mandate that I signed because I believe that is what New Yorkers believe as a people.”
The order takes effect Tuesday and calls for police and social service agencies to do what they can to get individuals into shelters. It also requires homeless shelters to extend their hours of operations so that those without shelter can remain indoors.
During a New York City media tour, Cuomo said concerns anywhere in the state over unsafe or unsatisfactory shelter conditions are unacceptable.
It’s not going to be somebody wants to stay on the street and freeze to death because they’re afraid to go into a shelter. We’re better than that.”
The state will offer assistance to municipalities if they are lacking proper facilities or resources. Cuomo says the order is necessary to protect individuals from hypothermia, injury and death.
Cuomo said New Yorkers have a basic commitment to one another as a community and that the executive order is part of a new year’s resolution to be better as a society.