Service Spotlight: Winter Shelter and Warming Services
Mayor Vincent Gray has brought together many resources to ensure the District’s homeless population stays warm during a Cold Weather Emergency. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will provide buses to keep homeless individuals warm. More information regarding the buses can be found by calling Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) at (202) 727-6161. If the D.C. government is closed, other public buildings may be closed as well. Hypothermia shelters, including designated recreation centers, may open early. If the government does close due to weather, emergency warming shelters will be open. These shelters include Kennedy Recreation Center, Columbia Heights Recreation Center and Banneker Recreation Center. If someone refuses to go inside, the Department of Behavioral Health and Metropolitan Police Department can use authority under D.C. law to transport homeless individuals who are unable to protect themselves to medical and emergency facilities. A Cold Weather Emergency is called when the temperature falls or is projected to fall to 15°F or below (including wind chill) or 20°F (including wind chill), and one or more of the following conditions: Precipitation for 60 consecutive minutes, ice storms/freezing rain, snow of at least three inches, winds of more than 10-15 miles per hour, a wind chill below 0°F, and/or other meteorological conditions or threats as determined by HSEMA. To report homeless people exposed to conditions, call 1-800-535-7252, (202) 399-7093, 311, 211, or email [email protected] and tweet @dchypothermia. Include the time when you saw the person, the location, a description of the individual’s appearance, and name if known. Pets should be brought indoors during extremely cold weather. To report animal cruelty, call the Washington Humane Society at (202) 723-5730. More information can be found through text alerts, registered through https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/register.php or by texting “DC” to 411911, tweets through @DCHypothermia, @DC_HSEMA and @mayorvincegray, and the websites hsema.dc.gov and snow.dc.gov.