Shelters Available for People Who Are Homeless to Escape Extreme Cold
Jan. 23, 2013
The recent onset of frigid temperatures has everyone taking steps to stay warm, with those who are homeless being the most vulnerable in the Arctic-like conditions. Fairfax County’s Hypothermia Prevention Program is one of the county’s most successful—and important—public-private partnerships. It relies on nonprofit and faith-based community partners to help carry out the life-saving mission to give these most vulnerable neighbors a safe place stay from the cold. It is thanks to the collaborative efforts of the partnership that no unsheltered individuals died due to hypothermia last winter and the county would like to ensure that remains the case this winter. The hypothermia shelters operate from November through March every year with a no turn-away policy.
Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If you see an unsheltered person at night who may be at risk of hypothermia, call the non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131, TTY 711; emergency personnel will determine which shelter option is best in the situation. Fairfax County’s emergency homeless shelters have additional capacity during winter months to take in people overnight who are at risk of hypothermia.