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When in doubt, call 911.

If you see someone unconscious, or behaving in a way that could cause harm to someone, CALL 911. You can try the non-emergency number (311), but our rule of thumb is “when in doubt call 911.”

Hypothermia (800) 535-7252

If you see someone out on a frigid night and want to help you can call the Hypothermia Hotline. They will send a van and offer shelter. If the person refuses, the van operator will offer blankets and assess whether or not additional action needs to be taken. If you see circumstances that you think might be life threatening, don’t be afraid to call 911.

Remember, hypothermia can effect anyone when temperatures drop. Homeless people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are out in the cold are most at risk, but anyone underdressed, elderly or very young, can be a victim.

Symptoms include dulled response and poor coordination or lack of movement. Hypothermia is deadly. All you have to do is call 911. Please observe and use your best judgement, but do not be afraid to call if you are unsure—that is what these services are here for. It might be a tragedy to not call.

Shelter Hotline (202) 399-7093

All shelters are accessible through the Shelter Hotline. The Shelter Hotline transports people who are out on the street to area shelters that have space. During Hypothermia Emergencies, when the temperature drops below 32°F. Hypothermia Shelters are opened. There will be space for everyone in need.

Additional Sources

Shelter and Food Directory Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
A comprehensive directory of food, shelter and other important services for homeless people.

Treatment Advocacy Center
Advocates for changes in the laws regarding involuntary hospitalization. Lots of good information.

Homeless Resource Center (SAMSA)
Substance Abuse and Services Administration Homeless Resource Center is a web resource for professionals working with homeless people.

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