WASINGTON (DC News Now) — When temperatures take a dive, the Department of Human Services (DHS) works with the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), through the city’s Cold Emergency Plan to ensure that people in the District have places they can go to protect themselves against low temperatures.

When a Cold Emergency Alert is put into place, additional services and support are provided to shield people from life-threatening sickness and injury associated with severe cold weather.

D.C. activates its 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 weather event such as snow.

According to the city’s website, the key services that come into play when a Cold Emergency Alert is issued are:

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. Overnight Warming Sites operate from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Some sites may open later than 7:00 p.m. based on regularly scheduled business operations.

Transportation to Warmth and Safety

  • Free transportation to an emergency shelter or warming site is provided to anyone experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC during a Cold Emergency Alert. To request transportation to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness, contact the toll-free Shelter Hotline: (202) 399-7093 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, from Monday to Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Families can also call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or 311 at any time day or night.

The District lists these types of shelters and their locations:

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Women

  • Community of Christ Church: 3526 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
  • King Greenleaf Recreation Center: 201 N Street, SW
  • Nativity Shelter: 6010 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • New Covenant Baptist Church: 1301 W Street, SE
  • Sherwood Recreation Center: 640 10th Street, NE

Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Men

  • Banneker Recreation Center: 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • Kennedy Recreation Center: 1401 7th Street, NW
  • Sacred Heart Church: 16th Street and Park Road, NW
  • Salvation Army: 3335 Sherman Avenue, NW
  • Community for Creative Non-Violence: 425 2nd Street, NW
  • Adams Place Shelter: 2210 Adams Place, NE
  • 801 East Shelter: 801 Making Life Better Lane, SE
  • Raymond Recreation Center: 3725 10th Street, NW

Co-ed Hypothermia/Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters

  • Emery Recreation Center: 5801 Georgia Avenue, NW

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Women

  • Harriet Tubman Shelter: DC General Building 9, 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, SE
  • Nativity Shelter: 6010 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • Patricia Handy Place for Women: 810 5 Street, NW

Low-barrier Emergency Shelters for Men

  • 801 East Shelter: 801 Making Life Better Lane, SE
  • Adams Place Shelter: 2210 Adams Place, NE
  • New York Avenue Shelter: 1355-57 New York Avenue, NE