AHTN defines code blue as temperatures being 26 degrees or below including wind chill and precipitation. We use the NOAA and Weather Channel websites for the Levittown area for guidance, not TV broadcasts.
Life for many of the unsheltered individuals consists of dependence on food pantries and pan handling among a plethora of survival skills. These individuals are living in conditions such as
tents, cars, boxes, and other temporary shelters within the woods surrounding our communities.
Many times these individuals are difficult to see. They are extremely resourceful and blend in well with an active community. It is very likely that at some point in time we have worked next to an individual who is living in these types of conditions. It is also true that many of us have, at some time, lived one paycheck away from the street.
Homelessness has touched many people’s lives. They are our friends, our family, our co-workers, and, quite possibly, ourselves. Throughout the history of humankind this issue is nothing new. Many unsheltered individuals are suffering from mental illness and are unable to seek out much needed treatment. Many more feel as if the system has failed them on every level.
An individual can become homeless for any number of reasons including mental illness, drug addiction, unemployment, and foreclosure. In a weakened economy social accountability becomes a huge road block when everyone is struggling to hold on to what they have. One of the most common responses to this crisis is, “Why is it my problem?” This agenda affects the community as a whole when there is a rise in crime while societal health, in general, suffers.
Code Blue is the bare minimum any community can do to ensure the health and safety of those less fortunate. Services are still needed once these individuals leave shelters and return to their accustomed surroundings. AHTN, and the many agencies and services in Bucks County will continue to make efforts on behalf of these individuals to improve their health and quality of life.