DowntownDC Prepares Homeless Ahead of Extreme Weather

Monday, January 6, 2014

By DowntownDC

The DowntownDC BID and its partner, Pathways to Housing DC, are preparing staff and assistance for the homeless Monday in advance of extreme cold weather expected to hit the D.C.-area overnight.

The DowntownDC BID’s Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance employees (SAMs) will be on alert Monday to provide weather-related homeless assistance ahead of a so-called “polar vortex” of frigid, dense air, which is expected to push local temperatures into the single digits overnight. The extreme cold, which local forecasters predict will remain in our area through early Wednesday, could create potentially dangerous risks for local homeless, including hypothermia.

SAMs are trained to inform the homeless of the extreme weather and provide those who seek or need assistance help via Washington, D.C.’s Hypothermia Hotline and through Pathways.

Christine Elwell, Pathways’ Director of Outreach, said Monday that Pathways has identified homeless individuals of particular concern in the DowntownDC District and is making an effort to reach out to those individuals ahead of Monday night’s expected temperature drop. “We are making rounds today to alert people and make sure that folks have a plan for the weather this evening,” Elwell wrote in an email. “We are also prepared to contact emergency personnel for anyone who needs an intervention.”

Both the DowntownDC BID’s SAMs and Pathways will be fully-staffed Tuesday.

The city of Washington, D.C. is opening 12-hour and 24-hour low barrier/emergency shelters across the city beginning Monday. Beds will be provided on a first come, first-served basis to any homeless person, according to the D.C. Department of Human Services.  

For a complete list of emergency shelters across the city, please visit the D.C. Department of Human Services at: http://dhs.dc.gov/service/emergency-shelter. If you see a homeless person who appears to be in distress from the elements, please call the Hypothermia/Shelter Hotline at 1-800-535-7252.

For more information:
- SAM Homeless Outreach Service Team: 202-624-1550
- Shelters in DowntownDC: http://downtowndc.org/p/poi-top-category/community-service-providers
- DC Department of Human Services 24-hour help line: 1-888-793-4357
- For emergencies call MPD: 911
- Extreme Weather tips: http://hsema.dc.gov/page/extreme-weather-cold