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On the coldest day of this year’s winter, with wind chills ranging from -5 to -15 degrees, the District is seeing a significant spike in demand for its homeless services.
A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services reports that D.C.’s shelter hotline received more than 520 calls and transported 342 people to their closest available shelter since 12:00 a.m. Monday morning. In comparison, between midnight and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, the shelter hotline received 110 calls and made 79 transports.
There are currently about 1,700 people in shelter, the DHS spokesperson says, with 447 people in the city’s hypothermia shelters. There were no individuals in the hypothermia shelters at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Temperatures will continue to stay dangerously low today, dipping into the teens later tonight. The windchill will drop the feels-like temp close to 0.
“[We] stress that people who choose to remain unsheltered—that you say ‘Hi, is there anything I can do to help you?’ If someone says they need a warm drink or a warm meal—let people know they’re seen and that the community cares,” the DHS spokesperson says.
D.C.’s shelter hotline is (202) 399-7093, and the agency suggests calling the line if you see someone who looks in need of a wellness check.