New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered homeless shelters to extend hours so anyone without a home can remain indoors when temperatures are below freezing.
Cuomo announced Sunday, with a press release and a round of media interviews, that he has signed an executive order to protect the homeless. It takes effect Tuesday.
The order came as temperatures in parts of New York state were expected to dip below 32 degrees throughout the week. Cuomo’s order calls for police departments and social-service agencies to do what they can to get individuals into shelters, including those reluctant to go. Part of the executive order reads: “I direct all local social service districts … to instruct homeless service outreach workers to work with other relevant personnel and to work with local police in relation to the involuntarily (sic) transport of at-risk individuals who refuse to go inside and who appear to be at-risk for cold related injuries to appropriate facilities for assessment consistent with the provisions of section 9.41 of the Mental Hygiene Law.”
“I’m going to make sure the local governments are doing what they need to do and they’re doing it well and they’re doing it competently,” Cuomo said on 1010 WINS on Sunday. “But we can’t have people saying, ‘I’d rather stay on the street and freeze than go into a shelter.’ I mean that’s not the choice, that’s not the option.”
The governor said the order was necessary to protect individuals from hypothermia and potential death.
The order takes effect even if only the wind-chill temperature is below 32 degrees.