Homeless Helped On Freezing Nights In Toms River

A homeless Santa sings for his fellow shelter residents. (Photo courtesy Paul Hulse)

TOMS RIVER – There were 35 different people helped throughout the last two months at the Toms River recreation building for Code Blue, when the building is opened up after temperatures drop.

Paul Hulse from Haven Beat the Streets reported that these 35 people were served 143 nights, split between just nine days. Of those:

  • 13 were linked into a housing program
  • 2 went to rehabilitation or detox programs
  • 3 received temporary housing through Social Services
  • 4 were permanently housed
  • 1 housed through adult protective services
  • 3 linked to P.A.T.H. at Ocean Mental Health

There were no incidents to report, Hulse said. It was a great undertaking, with 104 volunteers and 30 different organizations. These figures were reported on Dec. 27.

Homeless make their way through the recreation building in Toms River. (Photo courtesy Paul Hulse)

The Code Blue law opens up shelters when the temperature reaches 32 degrees with precipitation, or 25 degrees without precipitation.

Councilman Terrance Turnbach said at the most recent Township Council meeting that he wants the town to reach out to state lawmakers to change these laws. Below freezing is still below freezing regardless of precipitation.

The temperature had necessitated that the shelter be opened on Christmas Eve. However, the temperature was warmer than 25 degrees on Christmas day. With no precipitation, the shelter did not open.

“The 14 people who were there on Christmas Eve probably needed to be there on Christmas day,” he said.