[NEWS] Weather drives outreach urgency | Project HOME

[NEWS] Weather drives outreach urgency

 

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

Tanya Baker and Hyacinth King expected to strike out with Little Miss Betty Wilson, a 64-year-old homeless woman bundled up and seated alone on a subway concourse floor near City Hall on Sunday.

It was sunny and above freezing for the first time in days, but the mercury was about to nosedive again in a mercilessly cold winter that has broken records for cold, if not for snow. Outreach workers, Baker and King had a job to do on another Code Blue day in Philadelphia, the 47th so far.

They could have forced Miss Betty to go to a hospital for the night. Code Blue allows for that, which is one reason city officials declare it whenever the temperature feels like 20 degrees. But these partners preferred a soft sell. They knelt and looked her in the eyes.

"You'll be nice and safe," said King, 60, a formerly homeless woman whose insistent tone comes across as tough love (she calls herself "bad cop" in this duo.)