Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced available housing and heating assistance for residents through the county during the cold weather months. The Suffolk County Department of Social Services Safe Beds Program is operational and will provide emergency shelter to those in need during inclement weather, which is defined when the air temperature is at or below 32°F, including wind chill.
“As winter approaches, the county will provide available heat and shelter for those seeking to escape the frigid conditions.” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “We encourage anyone who is in need of temporary housing, emergency fuel or other assistance to contact the Suffolk County Department of Social Services immediately."
Dennis Nowak, Acting Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services said: “The Department of Social Services stands ready to assist Suffolk County residents that require our services during severe cold weather.”
Temporary housing assistance is available for those who wish to apply in-person at Suffolk County service centers located in Deer Park, Coram, Hauppauge and Riverhead. Specific addresses and information on these centers can be found below and at www.suffolkcountyny.gov. Outside of normal business hours please contact emergency services at 631-854-9100.
Service Center Locations
South West Center
2 South 2nd Street
200 Wireless Blvd.
80 Middle Country Road
893 East Main Street
3455 Veterans Memorial Highway
Ronkonkoma, New York 11779
Residents who receive Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits and are in need of fuel or emergency burner repair are advised to contact the Suffolk County Department of Social Services Home Energy Assistance Program immediately at 631-853-8820. If assistance is needed on weekdays after 4:30 p.m., weekends or holidays, residents can call the Department of Social Services Emergency Services Unit at 631-854-9100.
Between October 1st and May 31st, when outside temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, internal dwelling temperatures must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, day and night. Each dwelling is required by law to have heating facilities that are properly installed, and maintained in safe and good working conditions, and are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments. Residents whose landlords are not in compliance with this requirement are advised to call the Suffolk County Department of Health Temporary Residence Unit at 631-852-5900. Temporary interruptions necessary while performing repairs or alterations are permissible.
The County Executive additionally provided the following winter weather tips for homeowners and residents to stay safe:
- Protect your pipes. Run water at times to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Make sure portable heaters are placed on a flat, leveled surface and to keep all flammable objects, including cloth, papers and rugs, away from it.
- Drive with caution and be mindful of your surroundings. During the winter, roads may ice over and become slippery even if no precipitation is present.
- Check on friends and loved ones who are elderly or may be sick during the extreme cold or during snowfall.
- When outdoors, cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
- Be aware of the warning signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech. Infants and children who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin.
- Unvented or malfunctioning space heaters can emit carbon monoxide so make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly and have fresh batteries.
- Pets should never be left outside while you are at work or out of the house for any extended period of time.
- Walks should be limited to less than 15 minutes if the temperature is below freezing.
- If your dog must be outside for any reason this winter, monitor them closely and be sure to bring them indoors if they begin to show signs of distress.
For more information on the County’s winter weather protocols and snow removal preparations or for more winter weather safety tips, log on to www.facebook.com/stevebellone or www.suffolkcountyny.gov.