As temperatures drop, take action to help a community member experiencing homelessness this season.
Here are 5 tangible ways to support someone experiencing homelessness, share this information with friends, family, and co-workers.
1. Call the Hypothermia hotline
During hypothermia season, DC guarantees a legal right to shelter and although this gets complicated when putting the construction of shelters across all 8 wards after the closing of DC General—this is a tangible and quick way to help a neighbor in need of a warm place to stay. You can call: 311 or 202-319-7093. There is a free pick up service for those needing transportation to a shelter or day center that operates 24/7, 7 days a week.
We all need a warm, safe place to go during the holidays and winter months. Lend a hand and ensure someone is able to get warm at a day center in the District or have a place to stay at a shelter. The District is one of only three jurisdictions in the country with a right to shelter year-round, you can find more information here.
On the first hypothermia alert of the season, a woman died from exposure to the cold near union station. No one should die without the dignity of a home. Unfortunately, she was one of 54 people experiencing homelessness who died in 2018. That’s absolutely unacceptable, housing saves lives. We must keep putting pressure on policy makers and show up for each other locally for continued change.
2. Show up & Advocate
As more bills go into the hands of council members for voting, we can play a role in ensuring they know we support permanent supportive housing and expanded funding for homeless services. We’re proud to be a partnering non-profit with The Way Home Campaign: Ending Chronic Homelessness in DC and regularly show up to community advocacy events, door knocking at the Wilson Building, and support our fellow non-profits through hosting our Ward 1 Networking Group.
You can learn more and get connected with advocacy opportunities with our staff by emailing Kira at [email protected] or Mariah at [email protected]. Kira spearheads our young professionals and Ward 1 networking group and Mariah keeps us connected to local policy/advocacy events and regularly attends events on behalf of Thrive DC.
In 2018, our community saw several victories with the recent bill passing for public restrooms and the downtown services center opening at the end of January at the New York Presbyterian Church. Let’s show up for each other and continue this momentum in 2019, there is much more work to be done.
3. Host a coat drive or donate cold weather gear
Every year we host Winter Warmth Days for our clients and neighbors who need cold weather gear to keep them safe from the elements throughout the winter. You can drop off new or gently used coats, gloves, scarves, sleeping bags, or blankets to our office (Monday-Friday from 9am-noon, 1pm-5pm) and at any United Bank location in the District!
If you’re interested in hosting a coat drive at your work or place of worship, you can find more information here. You can also support our clients by directly sending us socks and multi-packs of gloves by visiting our Amazon wishlist.
4. Volunteer with us
The opportunities above require a brief orientation prior to volunteering, to go over what the programs are like, how to best interact with clients, and to walk through your first day of volunteering. If you’re ready to volunteer, sign up for an orientation.
Thrive DC is one of the few programs that allows elementary school age volunteers to work directly with our clients. However, this is only during the Evening Program and it is up to the discretion of the parent whether or not their child is ready for the experience. For the Morning Program we require that volunteers be at least 14 years old. Volunteers that are under 16 years old must come with a parent or guardian. Volunteers that are 16-17 years old can volunteer by themselves, but must have a Parent Permission Form filled out.
All volunteers 18 years old and over must complete a background check before volunteering, unless they are part of a group. If you have any questions, visit our FAQ page or email Jack at [email protected]
Money goes a long way in supporting your neighbors during the winter season. You put your trust in us when you give to Thrive DC. Because of you, we’re able to help our neighbors when they need us most. We keep overhead costs low with a small staff and over 2,000 volunteers a year. As a result, more than 86 cents of every dollar donated to Thrive DC goes directly to comprehensive services for our clients!