Operationalizing Code Blue for Subway Outreach

Bowery Residents’ Committee
Erica Hamilton
Adenike Olanrewaju, Allisson Knoll, Amanda Matthews, Elise Bergerson, Kristy Buller

Founded in 1971, the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC) is one of New York’s leading housing and homeless services providers. With its $68 million budget, BRC operates 27 programs designed to help clients achieve self-sufficiency. Last July, BRC contracted with the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oversee expanded outreach efforts throughout New York City’s subway system. Recognizing that outreach is even more critical during times of extreme weather, BRC engaged a Capstone team to evaluate the City’s Code Blue policy—an emergency procedure designed to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Originally developed for street homelessness, Code Blue needed to be retrofitted in order for BRC to meet continued contractual obligations and protect at-risk clients from exposure-related injuries or death. The Capstone team interviewed BRC staff, shadowed outreach teams, analyzed data, examined Code Blue documents, and conducted industry research. The team’s final report sought to modify Code Blue for subway operations, placing a greater emphasis on high-density locations.