A bill that will help identify and assist people who are in need of shelter during extreme weather passed the Assembly in December before legislators left for the holiday break.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Bruce Land and Bob Andrzejczak, D-Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, directs every county emergency management office in the state to coordinate emergency services that municipalities, nonprofits and social-service agencies provide for the homeless during harsh winter conditions.

The bill aims to help at-risk individuals, defined as those living outdoors or in poorly insulated settings who are at risk of weather-related exposure and possible death.

“No one in New Jersey should have exposure to the elements be his or her cause of death. The mere notion of that is just unacceptable,” Land said in a statement. “This legislation has the potential to save thousands of lives in New Jersey and help some of our most vulnerable residents as they try to get back on their feet.”

The bill also requires county offices of emergency management to create plans that provide emergency warming centers during a Code Blue alert.

The Senate will vote on the bill when members return after the holiday break.

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I joined The Press in January 2016 after graduating from Penn State in December 2015. I was the sports editor for The Daily Collegian on campus which covered all 31 varsity sports and several club sports.

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