202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

Where Do the Homeless Go In Cold Emergencies?

Posted on February 1, 2016

Last week we had "Snowzilla" which dumped over 2 ft of snow over DC. We spent a lot of time on Friday making sure our clients had what they needed to make it through the cold weekend in terms of food, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.

Thank you to everyone who sent us supplies to meet the tremendous need!

I thought it would be a good idea to show exactly what opportunities there are available to our homeless community when it comes to places to stay during a cold emergency. Note that there are several levels:

Hypothermia Alert

The Hypothermia Alert is activated when the temperature falls to 32° Fahrenheit. It is deactivated when the temperature rises above 32° Fahrenheit. When the Hypothermia Alert is activated, all shelters in DC remain open during the day. Also, additional shelter capacity is created, described in the map below as "Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters."

Cold Emergency Alert

Last year DC implemented a Cold Emergency Alert. A Cold Emergency Alert is activated when the temperatures falls or is forecasted to fall to:

  1. 15˚F or below (including wind chill) or
  2. 20˚F (including wind chill), and one or more of the following conditions existed:
    • Steady precipitation for 60 consecutive minutes
    • Ice Storms and/or freezing rain
    • Snow accumulation of 3 inches or more
    • Sustained winds of more than 10-15 miles per hour
    • A wind chill below 0˚F
    • Other meteorological conditions or threats as determined by HSEMA

During a Cold Emergency Alert additional services and supports are put in place to protect residents from life-threatening illness and injury associated with cold weather.

Snow Emergency Alert

During a Snow Emergency, warming sites are opened for residents in need of meals and a warm, safe place to be due to power failure or other emergency circumstances.

What To Do When You See Someone Outside

If you see someone in need who you think might be in danger from staying outside during any of the above alerts, please call the Shelter Hotline at 1-800-535-7252 or 311. Give them the time, the address or general location where you say the person, and a description of that person's appearance.

If you know the resources in the area, you can also point individuals in the direction of the places available to them. Check out the map below to know what your neighborhood offers.

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
Join Our Mailing List
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram