Help the homeless as hypothermia season begins in D.C.

Saturday, Nov. 1 marked the beginning of hypothermia season for the homeless in Washington, D.C., a time when all homeless people must be sheltered when the outside temperature drops below 32 degrees. D.C. shelters are required to provide shelter to the homeless during hypothermia season which runs from the beginning of November to the end of March.

If you see someone who appears to be very cold and in need of shelter, call D.C.’s hypothermia hotline at 800-535-7252. They can provide freezing homeless people with emergency transportation to shelters as well as blankets, hats, gloves, and jackets.

The Interagency Council on Homelessness estimates that D.C. will experience a 16 percent rise in families seeking shelter this winter as well as 1,597 single men and 479 single women. D.C. General and various other smaller homeless shelters have limited private rooms for families as well as limited beds for single adults.

Unlike in the past, the ICH’s 2014-2015 Winter Plan does not include any government funding to provide motel or hotel rooms for homeless families during hypothermia season, further limiting options for the homeless. The ICH hopes to make efficient use of the resources available as well as accelerate exits out of homeless shelters by providing more support for permanent housing and by making employment opportunities more widely known.

Ways to help the homeless along with the complete 2014-2015 Winter Plan can be seen on the ICH website. Other ways to help include getting involved with various clubs at Georgetown, such as Friday Foods and Knit for the Needy, which provide assistance to the homeless or those living in shelters.

Photo: Jonathan Comer via Flickr

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