As the chill of winter settles in, it is crucial to ensure everyone is prepared for the challenges that come with colder weather. Winter weather brings a range of obstacles that can disrupt our daily lives and even pose serious dangers. It is important that individuals with disabilities are aware of the emergencies that come with cold conditions, and how to be prepared.
The team at Westchester Independent Living Center has put together important resources and tips for being prepared for winter weather.
Winter Weather Concerns
Freezing temperatures and winter precipitation can be an inconvenient challenge, or at worst pose serious dangers. The biggest winter concerns include:
- Cold exposure/hypothermia
- Home heating
- Driving casualties in snow
- Power Outages, and resulting spoilage of food and medications
- Medical device failure when there is no power
Making a Preparedness Plan
WILC ADA Coordinator Michae Hellmann’s 3 tips for Emergency Preparedness, especially for those who live with disabilities, are:
- Do It Now – The key to preparedness is to get started today! Instead of putting it off, decide to make your plan and prepare your kit today.
- Make a Plan – We encourage you to visit our Emergency Preparedness page for a detailed guide on making an emergency plan. Having a list of contacts, specific medical care instructions, and local resources will ensure you are prepared for cold weather emergencies.
- Prepare a Kit – A supply of food, everyday items, and medical needs should be ready in case of an emergency. Your kit should be tailored to your individual needs.
Cold Weather Benefits
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a benefit can help you cover the cost of heating your home if you are in a heat or heat-related emergency. HEAP may utilized for fuel, utility costs, and heating equipment replacement and repairs. Eligible individuals can apply for HEAP once per season.
The enrollment period for HEAP is open now. To determine your eligibility and apply for this benefit, contact your county’s Department of Social Services:
Putnam Department of Social Services: (845) 808-1500 ext. 1
Westchester Department of Social Services: (914) 995-3333
Or connect directly with WILC for more information on eligibility and for support with your application!
Emergency Shelters in Westchester & Putnam
A complete emergency preparedness plan includes information about facilities that are available to you when it is not safe or possible to be inside your own home. WILC has compiled a list of emergency shelters and warming centers:
648 N Main Street, Brewster
This emergency shelter is a partnership of Brewster Cares with St. Lawrence O’Toole and Trinity Lutheran Church.
Their location in Brewster provides shelter to Putnam County’s unhoused population from December to May. The staff and network of volunteers help to provide hot meals, a safe place to sleep, a place to bathe and launder clothes, and a communal atmosphere to those who do not have shelter for the winter. They work with Social Services to find permanent housing solutions and provide services for guests, as well as help them apply for jobs and connect with local employers. There is also a warm area here for the unhoused population during daytime hours.
Jan Peek Shelter (Co-ed Facility)
200 North Water St.
New Rochelle Area
Oasis Shelter (Co-ed Facility)
19 Washington Ave
New Rochelle, NY
Mount Vernon Area
Oasis Women’s Annex (Female Only)
22 East 1st St.
Mount Vernon, NY
YWCA of Yonkers (Male Only)
10 St. Casimir Ave
YWCA of Yonkers
87 S. Broadway (Female Only)
Manor House (Male Only)
101 N. Broadway
White Plains Area
Samaritan House (Female Only)
33 Church St.
White Plains, NY
Open Arms Shelter (Male Only)
86 East Post Rd.
White Plains, NY
Westchester Independent Living Center hopes these resources empower individuals with disabilities to face the season with confidence. If you have questions about cold weather preparedness or the resources discussed in this post, contact WILC at (914) 682-3926 or PILS at (845) 228-7457.