DC Cold Emergency Plan

The Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) activated the city's Cold Emergency Plan on Wednesday, February 10, 2016. The Cold Emergency will be activated during the evening hours beginning at 7 pm through early mornings until Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 7 am. Under a "Cold Emergency Alert" additional services and supports are provided to protect residents from life-threatening illness and injury associated with severe cold weather.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016--Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Key services provided during Cold Emergency Alerts include:

Access to Emergency Shelter--Low-barrier, Hypothermia, and Overflow emergency shelters are open during Hypothermia and Cold Alerts.

Access to Overnight Warming Sites--In order to provide access to a warm and safe facility, designated public buildings, such as recreation centers, may open during the day or overnight. In cases where residents choose not to use the traditional low-barrier or hypothermia emergency shelters, these warming sites offer a warm and safe place to spend the night. Individuals may access these sites on their own or by contacting the Shelter Hotline for transportation.

Transportation to Warmth and Safety--Free transportation to an emergency shelter or warming site is provided to anyone experiencing homelessness in the District during a Cold Emergency Alert. To request transportation to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness, contact the toll-free Shelter Hotline: (800) 535-7252 or 311. Include the time, the address or location of the sighting, and a description of the person's appearance.

Families seeking emergency shelter can also visit the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center at 920 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, Monday - Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Families can also call the DC Shelter Hotline at (800) 535-7252 or 311 at any time day or night.


The District activates the Cold Emergency Plan when the temperature and wind chill drop to 15° F or when the temperature, with wind chill, is 20° F and there is an accompanying meteorological event such as snow. DHS, HSEMA and other agencies have determined that the weather as forecast presents a danger, especially to residents who are experiencing homelessness.

The following are low barrier and alert night emergency shelters and warming site locations:

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Women

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Men

Co-Ed Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters

Low-Barrier Emergency Shelters

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Women

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Men

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