202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

Help the Homeless in DC this Hypothermia Season

Posted on November 16, 2022

On November 1st, DC entered Hypothermia Season and put in place its Winter Plan. Since the 2005 Homeless Services Reform Act (HRSA), DC has had a mandate to serve residents without safe housing in extreme weather. 

When the weather is forecasted to dip below 32 degrees (including wind chill), or 40 degrees if there is a high chance of precipitation, DC issues a Hypothermia Alert to let providers and DC agencies know enhanced services are in effect.

No one should be forced to endure harsh, and potentially fatal, nights in our nation’s capital.

To help your neighbors without housing in DC, we’ve made a list of ways you can spread warmth and make a tangible difference in someone’s life this winter.

When are people at risk for hypothermia in Washington DC?

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that happens when your body cannot maintain its normal body temperature because it is losing heat faster than it can generate heat. If emergency services are not provided, hypothermia can lead to death. 

In DC, every person has the legal right to shelter during winter weather that can lead to hypothermia. DC categorizes November 1st - April 15th as hypothermia season. During these times, DC creates additional shelter capacity and the shelter hotline becomes available 24/7. 

Ways to Help

While DC has many resources for residents to protect them from these dangerous conditions, they are ineffective if the people who need them cannot find them. Here are ways that you can help your unhoused neighbors this hypothermia season: 

Utilize DC Resources

DC has protections during hypothermia season to ensure that everyone, regardless of housing status, has access to shelter during dangerous weather conditions. You can utilize these resources to help your unhoused neighbors: 

  1. Call the District Shelter Hotline for Someone in Need: The District’s Shelter Hotline runs 24/7 during Hypothermia Season, which is from November 1 to March 31. If you see someone in need, call the hotline and an outreach worker with a van will be dispatched to check in with the person you’re concerned about. If necessary, the outreach worker can drive the person to a warm, safe, shelter.

    The number is (202) 399-7093 or you can call 311. When calling, please include the time, location, and description of the person you’re calling about.
  2. Advocate with DC Organizations to End Chronic Homelessness in DC
    1. Click here to take action with The Way Home Campaign’s 7,000 partners and 110 partner organizations to tell Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to act with urgency to end chronic homelessness!
Support Local Organizations like Thrive DC

Organizations across DC are here for our unhoused neighbors, every day of the year. These efforts ramp up in the middle of summer and middle of winter, since these are some of the most dangerous times of the year to be without shelter. 

Thrive’s efforts include providing hot breakfast, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate at our morning program, where clients can come out of the winter cold and into our warm dining room for food and conversation. During this program, clients can shower and do their laundry, which are critical to maintaining good hygiene that can help prevent illness.

But to do this work, we need your support. Here are ways you can help:

  • Donate Winter Clothing: Every winter, Thrive distributes coats, gloves, hats, thermals, socks, and more to our clients. This holiday season, give the gift of warmth by donating your new or gently used winter clothing.
  • Make a Financial Donation: In order to run our programs, Thrive requires the financial support of our community. Only $25.84 covers two weeks of hot meals and coffee, warm showers, and clean laundry for an unhoused neighbor. 
  • Volunteer with Us: We provide many services to many clients. We rely on volunteers to provide the helping hands that makes this work possible. There are many opportunities for volunteering, including preparing and serving meals, handing out food at the emergency food pantry, and sorting our clients’ mail. 

Another way you can help? Share this information with your family, friends, coworkers, and social media. Every action makes a difference, big or small. Let’s make a difference together this winter. 

1525 Newton St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 737-9311

Client Hours:
Tuesday - Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Staff Hours: 
Monday – Friday
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
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