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Rochester area in Code Blue as homeless shelters brace for cold

Frigid temperatures are expected in Rochester this week. (WHAM Photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - A tough week ahead for homeless shelters with the frigid cold. Rochester is now under Code Blue.

Homeless shelters are bracing for the possibility of a tough week.

“This week gonna be critical cause it's going down to single digits, “ said Cecil Dukes, a REACH house manager.

With more frigid temps to come, the REACH Home is getting ready for a rush of people.

“About a week ago, we were over capacity,” REACH director Peter Peters said. “Any given night, there are about 600 homeless people.”

Dukes manages reach home. He's been homeless in cold weather before.

“You can only last so long out there in Code Blue because it's real cold. Your whole body gets weak and you just break down.”

Vandy Gallishaw is a resident at REACH home. He's also slept outside in Code Blue conditions. “It's mind boggling. It's stressful,” said Gallishaw.

On Monday he was grateful to be inside with a warm meal. “It feels good. It's a blessing.”

REACH Home says the shelter is seeing more women and children in need this year.

“We worry about people who are still out there, and we won't turn anybody away,” said Peters.

Dukes added, “Some of them, they be real cold, you can see they're faces red because they've been out there for a while.”

On this Christmas, Dukes takes stock of food and clothing.

“We're running low on everything,” he said, hoping to help those in need. “You can eat, shower, get your change of clothes. We can help you. Try to warm your body up, get your strength back.”

REACH is taking donations to help with their electricity bill. You can also donate food and clothes.

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