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Mayor Bowser to Activate the District’s Cold Emergency Plan

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
First Cold Emergency Plan of the Season is Activated, Guarantees Shelter Beds for Individuals in Need

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the DC Department of Human Services (DHS), in collaboration with the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), will activate the jurisdiction’s Cold Emergency Alert today, December 18, at 4 pm.

Under a Cold Emergency Alert, the District provides additional services and supports to protect residents from life-threatening illness and injuries associated with severe cold weather. To request transportation to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness, contact the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or by calling 311.

All Washingtonians are encouraged to check on neighbors, especially the elderly and vulnerable populations, to ensure they are taking proper precautions ahead of the expected cold weather conditions.

Cold Emergency Alerts occur when the National Weather Service forecasts weather that presents a danger to residents, especially those who are outdoors and experiencing homelessness. Alerts are triggered by either a combination of temperature and wind chill below 15° F, or a combination of temperature and wind chill below 20° F along with an accompanying weather event such as snow.

Residents and encouraged to register for important weather alerts from the District by signing up for AlertDC at

Key services provided during Cold Emergency Alerts include:

Access to Emergency Shelter — Shelters that accept individuals and families in need are open, along with designated cold emergency alert shelters.

Access to Overnight Warming Sites — Designated public buildings may open overnight and during the day tomorrow in the event that the Alert remains activated. Individuals can access these sites on their own or by contacting the Shelter Hotline for transportation. Overnight Warming Sites are in operation from 7 pm. until 7 am. Some sites may open later than 7 pm 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 the District during a Cold Emergency Alert. To request transportation to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness, contact the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or by calling 311. When calling the hotline, please include the time, the address or location of the sighting, and a description of the person’s appearance. Please call 911 if it appears there is an immediately risk to an individual’s safety.

Families seeking emergency shelter can call the Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 or 311 at any time day or night. Families may also visit the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center at 920 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, Monday through Thursday between 8 am and 4:30 pm., and Friday between 8 am and 12:30 pm.

The following shelter locations are open:

Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Women

  • New Covenant Baptist Church at 1301 W Street, SE
  • Community of Christ Church at 3526 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
  • Sherwood Recreation Center at 640 10th Street, NE
  • King Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N Street, SW
  • Harriet Tubman Shelter at 1900 Massachusetts Avenue, SE #27
  • St. Josephine Bahkita at 6010 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • Patricia Handy Place for Women at 810 5th Street, NW

Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters for Men

  • Salvation Army at 3335 Sherman Avenue, NW
  • Banneker Recreation Center at 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW
  • Kennedy Recreation Center at 1401 7th Street, NW
  • 801 East Shelter at 801 Making Life Better Lane, SE
  • Adams Place Shelter at 2210 Adams Place, NE
  • New York Avenue Shelter at 1355-57 New York Avenue, NE

Co-Ed Cold Emergency Alert Night Shelters

  • Malcom X Recreation Center at 1351 Alabama Avenue, SE
  • Community for Creative Non-Violence at 425 2nd Street, NW