by Megan Hustings
In DC, we’re trying to squeeze the last days of warmth and sunshine out of the summer, and the last thing we want to think about is the temperature dropping more. But winter is on its way. Did you know that hypothermia, a life-threatening condition due to body temperature falling below 95 degrees, can occur when the outside temperature is as high as 50 degrees? Wet clothes or socks can exacerbate already difficult weather conditions to make the risk of hypothermia greater.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has reported for years that the number of requests for shelter beds far outweighs the actual number of emergency shelter beds available, and this is especially the case during periods of cold weather when it is just not healthy to remain outdoors.
It is never too late, or too early, to plan how your community can help those who do not have a warm place to call home this winter. From out report on Winter Services , here are 5 things to be sure to include while you are planning for this winter.
5 Tips for Winter Services Planning:
- Increased Outreach – Talk to people who stay on the street to help you locate camps and common sleeping areas.
- Stock up on Blankets and Warm Clothing – Wet clothing will not keep anyone warm and can lead to greater risk of illness.
- Emergency Transportation – Does your city have vans or shuttles available to transport people to shelters that may be across town?
- Day Centers – Make sure there is somewhere people can go, at least when the temperature falls below 40 degrees F.
- Low Barrier Nighttime Shelter – Any past bans or other restrictions should be waived on nights when the temperature is lower than 40 degrees F. If needed, people who are violent or under the influence can be separated, so long as they can remain warm.