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District to Activate “Cold Emergency Plan” Saturday, January 12, 2019, 8:00 am through Monday, January 14, 2019 8:00 am

Friday, January 11, 2019



The Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) will activate the city's Cold Emergency Plan starting on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at 8:00 am through Monday, January 14, 2019, 8:00 am. The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting that on tomorrow afternoon the District should expect to receive precipitation in the form of snowfall to last through the overnight into Sunday (01/13/2019) evening. The overall expected accumulation amounts are still ranging between 3-5 inches total over both days this weekend. Additionally, outdoor conditions will be extremely cold and breezy with strong winds. Under a Cold Emergency, additional services and supports are put in place to protect residents who are experiencing homelessness beyond what is provided during a Hypothermia Alert. These additional measures are put in place to protect residents experiencing homelessness from illness, injury, and death. 


The District activates the 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 meteorological event such as snow. DHS, HSEMA and other agencies have determined that the weather as forecast presents a danger, especially to residents who are experiencing homelessness.


Additional Resources Requested by Agency: 

DHS- Coordinates the opening of additional shelter space for individuals experiencing homelessness and living on the streets. For this alert activation tomorrow morning, all low barrier shelters will remain open continuously through the weekend and de-activation of the alert period. Additionally, tomorrow morning, the Adams Place Day Center will be open from 7:00 am-7:00 pm Saturday and Sunday as well as all Hypothermia Shelters will be open every night starting at 7:00pm. On Sunday only, from 8:00 am-7:00 pm, the King Greenleaf, Kennedy, and Malcolm X Recreation Centers will remain open all day allowing consumers to stay in palace if they so desire as well as welcoming others inside from the messy weather conditions. They will be staffed by Catholic Charities employees and security personnel will also be on site. Lastly, starting tonight, Friday, January 11, 2019, DHS will deploy a strategic team of outreach workers to perform welfare checks, and provide competency assessments for known individuals experiencing homelessness. The outreach teams will canvass parts of the District tonight, tomorrow morning, and tomorrow evening and again on Sunday intermittently. 

HSEMA-Provides communications and notification to government agencies and residents alike on the status of the weather emergency and recommended precautionary actions one should take. 

MPD- Will support PSD security at all shelter/warming sites and Outreach teams as needed to encourage those living on the streets to seek shelter or in cases where deemed appropriate involuntarily (FD-12). 

PSD-Will provide internal security guards at King Greenleaf, Banneker, Sherwood, and Kennedy Recreation Centers from 7:00 pm to 8:00 am on both 01/12 and 01/ 13. On Sunday 01/13 security will be on site at Kennedy, King Greenleaf, and Malcolm X from 8:00 am-7:00 pm. The contracted Security Personnel will be responsible for the safety and protection of all staff, consumers, and DC Government Property. 

DGS- will provide additional support at DPR locations in the form of utility management and monitoring as well as other custodial needs that may be required at facilities in use. 

DPR- will make available for use King Greenleaf, Malcolm X, Kennedy, Banneker, and Sherwood Recreation Centers. 

UPO/ Shelter Hotline- will coordinate transportation for all consumers seeking a shelter bed. They will also be monitoring shelter activity at all open locations recording the census hourly. Additionally, UPO will deploy teams to areas throughout the city where individuals are known to be experiencing homelessness. Lastly, they will manage the dispatching, monitoring and overall use of the OSSE vehicles being made available in support of this weather event. 

OSSE- will support the efforts of DHS and The Shelter Hotline with the use of OSSE vehicles Drivers and Attendants who will work intermittently through the duration of the activation period. 

DBH-Will coordinate outreach activity to encourage those experiencing homelessness to seek shelter tonight on a voluntary basis unless additional action seems to be necessary. Outreach by DBH, HOP, and Mobile Crisis, teams. All activity and efforts will be focused upon those experiencing chronic homelessness on seeking shelter as appropriate. 

Catholic Charities- Will provide on-site shelter staff at the Warming Centers/ Overflow locations as well as Hypothermia sites. 

TCP- Will arrange and coordinate the delivery of cot, blankets, and meals at all Hypothermia Shelters and Warming/ Overflow sites. 

N Street Village- Will provide support to women seeking shelter from weather conditions as their capacity will allow. 


  • HEPRA Has agreed to provide monitoring and situational awareness throughout the Alert period.
  • Animal Services- Has coordinated arrangements to receive any pets voluntarily surrendered for the overnight so that an individual can seek shelter. The NY Avenue Animal Shelter will be the collection and drop off location for pets. Additionally, individuals experiencing homelessness with pets will be checked on and monitored throughout the Alert period.

DCRA Is prepared to support the Emergency Building Closure Protocols as it becomes necessary. Any request for an emergency response from DCRA should be made through HSEMA and the 24-hour duty officer. 

OCME- Will be on standby to assist as needed 
DCPS- Will be on standby to assist as needed 
DDOT- Will be on standby to assist as needed. 
DPW- Will be on standby to assist as needed. 
FEMS- Will be on standby to assist as needed. 
DCPL- Will be on standby to assist as needed. 
EOM- Will be on standby to assist as needed 
DMHHS- Will be on standby to assist as needed 
OCA- Will be on standby to assist as needed

Involuntary Transport- every effort will be made by homeless outreach teams to secure an individual's cooperation with voluntary transport to a warm and safe setting. If an individual refuses to go inside, the Department of Behavioral Health and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) are fully prepared to exercise authority under DC law to transport those homeless individuals with a mental illness who are not able to protect themselves from the extreme cold to the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) or to other local emergency departments for emergency physical and mental health evaluation. 

To request transport to shelter for persons in DC who are experiencing homelessness and are on the street now, contact the 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. Persons who are in need of shelter who don't have a cell phone or change for a payphone should use 311.