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Mayor Gray announces more emergency aid in the freezing cold for the homeless

There is no question that Washington is beautiful. The snow is pretty to look at from inside a warm home. However, for homeless people the snow is deadly. Scenes around D.C. clearly show that severe and freezing weather is dangerous.
There is no question that Washington is beautiful. The snow is pretty to look at from inside a warm home. However, for homeless people the snow is deadly. Scenes around D.C. clearly show that severe and freezing weather is dangerous.
Photos by Professor Metze

Mayor Vincent Gray encourages residents to stay indoors and announces additional measures to help the homeless in freezing weather. In response to the freezing cold, Gray has marshaled all necessary government services to ensure the safety of the District’s homeless population in need of emergency shelter.

Mayor Gray encourages residents to stay inside from freezing cold
Mayor Gray encourages residents to stay inside from freezing cold
Photo by Professor Metze

The District of Columbia is operating several overflow shelters and emergency warming centers that will be kept open overnight tonight for any homeless residents needing accommodations. The overflow shelter sites are as follows: Banneker Recreation Center, Kennedy Recreation Center and Columbia Heights Recreation Center. An individual may contact the District’s Hypothermia Shelter Hotline (1-800-535-7252) for a shelter or warming center with available space.

In addition, Metrobuses that have been specially designated as warming buses will be located in various locations. The locations include: 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW (in front of the FBI Building); Union Station; McPherson Square (15th and K Streets NW); the West End Library (1101 24th Street NW); and the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Milwaukee Place SE. Each location will include a portable restroom.

“Our hypothermia response teams were on the street last night and will be out again this evening to make sure that no one is left out in the cold. I accompanied one of the mobile units last night, and we helped over 30 individuals find shelter or medical attention. I applaud our outreach teams and first responders and continue to remind residents to be on the lookout for any vulnerable neighbors,” Gray said.

District residents who need shelter from the freezing cold should call the Hypothermia Shelter Hotline at 1-800-535-7252 or 311. In the interest of time, the public is encouraged to use e-mail (uposh@upo.org) and Twitter (@dchypothermia) to request support for persons who are homeless and include the time when the reporter saw the person, the location of the sighting, and a description of the person’s appearance (such as clothing).

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stay indoors or find a public facility available for warming. D.C. Public Library (DCPL) branches, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) facilities, and the Office on Aging’s (DCOA) Senior Wellness Centers are all places where the District government encourages residents in need to stay warm; they are open to the public during normal business hours.