The SA Greens have welcomed today’s announcement of a Code Blue emergency homelessness response but have renewed their calls (made in parliament last week) for a review and reform of the criteria for a Cold Blue to be called.
The current triggers for a Code Blue are:
conditions predicted to continue for at least three days by the Bureau of Meteorology with any two of the following:
- temperatures dropping below an average night-time low of 6º Celsius;
- significant rainfall causing difficulty for unsheltered individuals to remain dry; and
- damaging wind gusts posing a high risk for the safety of those unsheltered individuals;
- conditions predicted by the BOM to continue for at least five days when temperatures drop below an average night-time low of 5º Celsius; or
- any other factors related to extreme winter weather which require a Code Blue response.
Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:
“After heavy rains have lashed Adelaide overnight and recording our wettest day in more than two years, it is a relief to see that a code blue has finally been called. However, given the recent spate of very cold nights consistently below 6 degrees, followed by last night’s stormy weather, strong winds, and heavy rain, it beggars belief that it has taken until now for a Code Blue to finally be called."
“We cannot pretend that last night’s storm was neither expected nor insignificant, while radio announcers were telling people in housing to get their washing done and off the line by nightfall we heard nothing about preparations for people sleeping rough to survive the night. The fact that a Code Blue wasn’t called at that time should show our Government that the current criteria is currently too restrictive and rigid to function as it should."
“Sleeping rough shortens lives by as much as 30 years and puts people’s lives at direct risk every day. We have already seen deaths this year from those sleeping rough on these cold city nights. We keep being told that there is enough flexibility in the criteria, yet we’re not seeing Code Blues being triggered or declared when we would expect them to be."
Code Reds (hot weather) and Code Blues (cold weather) assist those sleeping rough by connecting them with support services and providing additional services, including extended operating hours, increased shelter operations, additional food etc, when weather conditions are extreme.