Utah shelters prepare to take in more people under Code Blue protocol

Nov 27, 2023, 6:38 AM | Updated: 6:39 am

several people sit at a table to eat a meal...

Unsheltered individuals are seen having lunch at St. Vincent de Paul Center. The center opened Monday for winter overflow, adding 65 temporary beds for the season. (Don Grayston, Deseret News)

(Don Grayston, Deseret News)

OGDEN — A majority of Utah counties were in Code Blue status Sunday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Under a new law, resource centers and other spaces are required to expand their capacity up to 35% if the National Weather Service predicts the temperature will fall to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below, including wind chill.

“We are the emergency shelter,” said Lauren Navidomskis, Lantern House executive director. “Our emergency shelter flexes a little bit in our space and occupancy to ensure that everybody can come into our facility and make sure they get the basic things that they need.”

Code Blue is legally mandated

She said Ogden City has been following Code Blue protocol for the last three years. She said it’s helpful that it’s now legally mandated.

“It’s exciting that finally the state has recognized a call for help from the service providers that we need a safe place for people to go, and have a whole community supporting us,” Navidomskis said.

The Code Blue alert stays in effect for 24 hours. Navidomskis said Lantern House follows the protocol for seven days.

“We always have a space in our facility, we call it our community room, that people can come in and get out of the weather, but in Code Blue, we have an additional about 200 chairs that we can put up in a separate space,” she said.

Lantern House works with the Ogden Police Department to provide free transportation to the shelter. If shelters are entirely full, anti-camping laws cannot be enforced.

“If they aren’t willing to come in and that’s their choice, making sure that we have services to give to them whether it’s a coat or gloves or handwarmers, or maybe it’s a meal,” Navidomskis said.

About Lantern House

Lantern House takes in families and two pets per person. They have a total of 330 beds. If all of their beds are occupied, their overflow space is their soup kitchen. They can add up to 50 cots there. Navidomskis said shelter employees are trained to follow fire watch protocol.

As of Sunday, the shelter had not yet used the overflow space.

“We’re still really nervous to when we occupy that to 100%, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” she said.

Under a Code Blue, individuals restricted from coming to Lantern House due to previous acts of violence, vandalism or drug use on the property are allowed inside, as long as they’re not an immediate threat to themselves or others.

“We have a couple other shelters that are willing to take people that aren’t welcome here,” Navidomskis said.

She said the shelter collaborates with other centers, hospitals, and law enforcement to get transport those individuals.

Navidomskis said more services and protocol like Code Blue will prevent people from dying on the street.

“Hearing that we’ve lost somebody or we have someone come in with extreme frostbite where they’re going to lose limbs…it can be preventable,” she said.

Navidomskis said, as the community learns about Code Blue, so are Ogden City and Lantern House.

“As someone dedicated to saving the lives of those most vulnerable in our community, we are doing so much,” she said. “We definitely know we can do more, and that’s made possible through additional funding, additional programs, affordable housing.”

Lantern House is in need of donations like coats, blankets, gloves and food.

Related: Bill houses unsheltered in churches, rec centers when temps turn deadly


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Housing + Homelessness

a box of food for food pantries...

Heather Peterson

Food pantries running low due to spike in demand

According to Feeding America, 316,980 people are facing hunger in Utah, and 93,050 are children.

11 hours ago

FILE: A "For sale" sign in front of a home in North Salt Lake on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023....

Curt Gresseth

Utah home prices not likely to fall soon, says real-estate expert

Utah home prices are back up and so are interest rates -- and they will stay high says a Utah real-estate expert.

2 days ago

Homelessness grew by 12% in 2023 from last year, meaning 70,650 more people were unhoused....

Mariah Maynes

No one-size-fits-all solution to help those experiencing homelessness, expert says

Those experiencing homelessness in Utah often are presented with similar options, regardless of their situation. 

4 days ago

A for sale sign is pictured in North Salt Lake on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. A new report on Utah’s e...

Don Brinkerhoff

Expert weighs in on home prices in Utah

Home prices in Utah are staying relatively flat however, fluctuating interest rates are pricing homebuyers out.

4 days ago

People experiencing homelessness walk in the street near a winter overflow shelter at St. Vincent d...

Peter Johnston

Code blue bill would open emergency beds at 18 degrees

The legislature is considering whether to raise the temperature at which emergency beds open up during code blue alerts. 

4 days ago

the front of a homeless shelter, budget plan utah...

Eric Cabrera

Salt Lake business leaders show support for governor’s budget plan to help homeless people in Utah

Leaders who approve of the budget plan said they had seen a huge difference in downtown Salt Lake over the past six months.

10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Utah shelters prepare to take in more people under Code Blue protocol