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DC Takes Action to Keep Our Neighbors Safe

DSC00043As we make our way through February, longtime DC residents and CHGM employees agree that it’s the worst winter they have experienced in years. The below freezing temperatures, intense wind chill, and unusual amount of snowfall has made this winter uncharacteristically tough. Recognizing the seriousness of this inclement weather, the DC government was quick to implement new and effective options to keep our homeless neighbors safe.

During hypothermia season (November 1 – March 31), protocol is in place for more beds and space to be available for our homeless neighbors, so that they do not have to be outside in dangerously cold weather. In addition to the extra bed space in shelters and churches, new action has been created for circumstances under “Cold Emergency.”  This Cold Emergency Activation includes additional overflow shelter at several recreation centers, warming sites, numerous warming buses  all over the city.

Warming buses have never before been used in the District, and have been praised by service providers as providing a low-barrier alternative for people who will not go into a shelter, but still need to get out of the cold. Given the success of this strategy at keeping more people safe during our extreme weather, we expect that warming buses will become a key part of the city’s hypothermia prevention strategy in the years to come.

For more information, please visit dmhhs.dc.gov, or call the DC shelter hotline at 1-00-535-752.