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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.