This has been a brutally winter. The entire city has been working extremely hard to make sure no one dies from exposure this season. In addition to the hypothermia vans and shelters, this year the city started stationing warming buses throughout the city, where the homeless can board and warm up for 30 minutes, 3 hours, the entire night… however long they need. We have heard great feedback from our homeless guests and other providers about the success of these buses.
Still, there are people who are sleeping outside, whose mental illness prevents them from coming inside, or who think they are strong enough to brave the cold, wind, and snow. During the day, GMC staff and our medical team checks on these individuals. However, we can’t often do outreach at night, when people are most vulnerable.
And so, we decided to create a group of volunteers to do street outreach for us when it gets cold and when the weather’s supposed to be bad.
We partnered with the Center for Social Justice at Georgetown University to create the volunteer Hypothermia Outreach Team (HOT) and recently held the classroom portion of the training. Communications Director Stephanie spoke about the signs and symptoms of hypothermia, what to do in certain situations, available resources, and about how to engage individuals during street outreach.
Next week, students will get some practice doing street outreach with Executive Director Gunther and Outreach Director Roy. Stay tuned for more updates and pictures!