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Bracing for cold in Lackawanna County

Lackawanna County Commissioners declared a "Code Blue" frigid weather alert as temperatures drop well below freezing.

SCRANTON, Pa. — When temperatures drop below freezing, well, you're bound to find people trying their best to keep warm.

Many were doing just that at Community Intervention Center on North 6th Avenue in Scranton.

"It's cold. I mean, one time, I tried to sleep outside, and I couldn't sleep. It was too cold out. It's nice to know that there is somewhere warm to be," said Mike Hunt, Scranton.

Lackawanna County Commissioners declared a "Code Blue" frigid weather alert.

It's issued when the forecasted temperatures in the county drop below 20 degrees.

People without a warm place to stay can sleep at places like Saint Anthony's Haven on Olive Street.

Jason Griffiths is a caseworker.

"You see, outside right now, we are in the teens. I mean, if we weren't here, our homeless clients in our day room, there would be no place to go. We still have people out there under bridges and in abandoned buildings. We had a few clients come in today just looking for bedrolls. I mean, people are still outside," said Jason Griffiths, Community Intervention Center.

Because it's going to be very cold over the next few days, "Code Blue" will stay in place here in Lackawanna County until Wednesday at noon. People who use the shelters are grateful for that.

As the pandemic continues, social workers say masks are required while people use buildings both during the day and at night.

Maureen McGuire Dittrich doesn't mind. She says it's better than her alternative. 

'It's great. I mean otherwise, I'd be in my truck trying to stay warm," said Maureen McGuire Dittrich, Scranton.

Keystone Mission at Weston Field House on Providence Road in Scranton also opened as an overnight shelter.

During a “Code Blue” alert, homeless individuals can access an emergency shelter at the following locations:

  • Keystone Mission, Weston Field House, 982 Providence Road, (doors open at 8 p.m. during the week. Closed Wednesday. Weekend hours vary.)
  • St. Anthony’s Haven, 409 Olive Street, Scranton, (hours: 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.)
  • Community Intervention Center, 445 North 6th Avenue, Scranton, (hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Check out severe weather tips on WNEP’s YouTube channel. 

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