Correction appended. In a wooded stretch behind Ithaca’s Walmart known as “the Jungle,” dozens of homeless individuals live out of tents and sleeping bags, often battling poor weather and environmental conditions. Under New York State’s Code-Blue policy, Tompkins County is required to provide shelter for anyone who requests it when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. However, with last week’s polar vortex bringing the temperature down to as low as negative seven degrees to Ithaca, the request for shelter rocketed, according to the Ithaca Voice, leaving the County in a shortage of resources. Kit Kephart, commissioner for the Department of Social Services told Ithaca Voice that because the County does not have enough shelter beds, many people requesting shelter are housed temporarily in local churches or hotel rooms.
To help the homeless population in the county survive the winter, Winnie Ho ’19 collaborated with the Ithaca Homeless Crisis team to fundraise online from Jan.