Homelessness, Office to Prevent and End

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9AM-5PM M-F

12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035

Dean Klein,
Director

Hypothermia Prevention Program

Picture of a thermometer in winterThe Hypothermia Prevention Program is one of the county’s most successful public-private partnerships. We rely on our nonprofit and faith-based community partners to help us carry out the life-saving mission to give our most vulnerable neighbors a safe place stay from the cold.

The hypothermia shelters operate seven days a week from December through March. In addition,  a "no turn-away" policy is implemented outside of that timeframe based on temperature and weather conditions at all of our emergency homeless shelters. To find out if the shelter is on "no turn away", please call them directly.

The Hypothermia Prevention Program is an integral part of Fairfax County's programs to prevent and end homelessness that incorporates the collaborative work of area faith communities, civic organizations, businesses, and individual volunteers. The program represents a shining example of collaborative effectiveness in serving the critical needs of those experiencing homelessness when they are in most danger of exposure to cold weather.

For general questions, contact Abby Dunner in the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness at abigail.dunner@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Program Highlights

  • Nearly a 1,000 men and women are provided a safe, warm place to sleep during the winter season.
  • More than 2,000 volunteers serve at dozens of houses of worship, including churches, synagogues and mosques.

Program Partners

The program is operated by four nonprofit organizations under contract with Fairfax County.

  • FACETS
  • Northern Virginia Family Services
  • Cornerstones
  • New Hope Housing
    • Ventures in Community Hypothermia Outreach Program
    • Friends of Falls Church Homeless Shelter

In the South County Route One Area – Region 1, New Hope Housing (NHH) operates their winter seasonal program out of the Eleanor U. Kennedy Shelter (EUKS). Guests are welcome to enter the shelter at 4:30 pm. On December 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, NHH starts the operation of their Hypothermia Prevention Program through the Ventures in Community Hypothermia Outreach Program (VIC-HOP) at Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church, located at 8220 Russell Road, Alexandria. At this shelter location, 24 guests can be served per night, with shelter coverage provided by a partnership of over 17 faith-based agencies and organizations located in Hybla Valley, Mount Vernon, and the South County area. In addition to supervising the guests, volunteers provide a hot meal in the evenings, as well as breakfast items to-go daily. VIC-HOP operational hours are from 6:30 pm – 7:00 am daily. At both shelter sites, NHH case management staff provides services to include employment skills and housing assistance.

Within the City of Falls Church, the Friends of Falls Church Homeless Shelter in partnership with New Hope Housing operates the Falls Church Homeless Shelter from November 15, 2017 through March 31, 2018. This shelter provides a warm bed and case management services, which includes employment and housing assistance. Volunteers provide hot meals and deliver them to the shelter every evening. Most meals are prepared and delivered by individual families, as well as faith communities and local restaurants. The shelter accommodates 12 individuals and this compact size fosters unique socialization opportunities among guests, staff, volunteers, and Falls Church City and County staff. Life skills classes and resources are made available to all shelter guests, with classes being held weekly. Topics of discussion include but are not limited to, the following: crisis intervention, anger management, budgeting skills, available community services and how to access such resources, and Out of Poverty. The shelter is located at 217 Gordon Road, in the City of Falls Church and operates from 6:00 pm – 8:00 am daily.

In the Central area, including Annandale and Seven Corners – Region 2, New Hope Housing (NHH) operates their winter seasonal program out of the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter (BCCS). Guests are welcome to enter the shelter beginning at 4:30 pm. Starting December 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, NHH starts the operation of the Hypothermia Prevention Program. With support from neighboring faith communities in Fairfax County, BCCS is able to expand its ability to serve unsheltered guests. During the season, guests assemble at BCCS each evening where they are provided the opportunity for meals, laundry, shower facilities, and cold-weather clothing and supplies. Each night, BCCS transports Hypothermia Prevention guests to local faith communities where they stay overnight in the care of two NHH staff members. Guests are then transported back to BCCS each morning. The overnight host site rotates weekly among partnering faith communities, many of whom generously offer meals, supplies, and fellowship in addition to overnight accommodations. At both shelter sites, NHH case management staff provides services to include employment skills and housing assistance.

In the North County area, including Herndon and Reston - Region 3, Cornerstones (formerly Reston Interfaith) operates their programming out of the Embry Rucker Community Shelter (ERCS). Beginning December 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, the main Hypothermia Prevention Program opens at the North County Government Building, with individuals being directed there after first visiting ERCS. Also during this timeframe, additional sleeping space is made available at the main shelter through their Winter Seasonal program. A hot dinner, breakfast, bagged lunches, showers, laundry, bus tokens and basic self-care supplies are made available to all individuals who participate in the program. Outreach staff provide case management support to link individuals to resources, including opportunities for housing. In addition, Cornerstones offers employment services every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. at the main shelter for all participants. All of the services provided and supplies used are made available due to a combination full-time agency staff and a committed group of volunteers and donors.

In the Western and Central area, including Fairfax and Centreville - Region 4, FACETS’ hypothermia prevention season begins on November 26, 2017 through March 31, 2018, with doors opening at 5:00 pm each evening and closing at 7:00 am each morning, seven days a week. The location of FACETS’ Hypothermia Prevention Program rotates from weekly and is hosted by various partner faith communities throughout the county. For the first four weeks, the program is hosted at one site and beginning on December 24th, 2017 (Week 5), the program operates from two faith community sites each week. Community members are welcome to participate in the form of volunteering at the current locations or donating items such as food, clothing, etc. FACETS provides case management services to guests by offering them intensive one-on-one case management, legal assistance, life skills classes and other critical services based on their individual needs. FACETS also provides volunteer and staff trainings with the goal of making sure everyone involved feels safe and confident in providing shelter to those experiencing homeless this season. This includes a “train the trainer” model of volunteer trainings which will empower the faith community’s Point of Contact to train their own volunteers. In addition, FACETS has set up Memorandum of Agreements with each of the host faith sites that clearly lists the expectations between the organization and their partner sites. For further information, please contact Maria Avila at Mavila@facetscares.org.

Additionally, the Fairfax County Health Department’s Homeless Healthcare Program (HHP) again will have Nurse Practitioners visiting the Hypothermia venues at least once a week. In addition to providing onsite medical care, they will also be providing flu vaccines free of charge. All Hypothermia Prevention Program guests are encouraged to take advantage of this offer. In addition, medical outreach workers will visit each site weekly to assist in enrollment into the Community Health Care Network’s (CHCN) free clinic and perform other related duties.

Fairfax County, operated by the contracted nonprofit organizations, continues to operate the three shelters that serve single individuals and the four shelters that serve families (six facilities total) year-round for those experiencing homelessness. Families with children who need shelter must contact Coordinated Services Planning at (703) 222-0880 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm to gain access. After business hours, families with children in need of shelter should go directly to the nearest family shelter.

The effective collaboration and partnering of the many other agencies includes the Community Services Board (CSB), Police Department, Sheriff's Office, Fire Marshal’s Office, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, and the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH). These groups support the program and its client’s essential service and safety needs throughout the season.