The heat wave is creating inconveniences such as metro trains running slowly and very sweaty bike commutes. But, more importantly, it puts all of us at risk for heat-related injuries like dehydration, and heat stroke that can lead to death. Homeless residents are particularly at risk because they often lack access to water and a cool place during the hottest daytime hours. The District develops an annual Heat Emergency Plan to ensure that all DC residents, but particularly the most vulnerable, are protected from heat-related injuries.
Most of the District’s shelters for homeless residents without children are only open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., meaning residents cannot stay in the shelter during the warmest daytime hours. When the temperature or heat index, the measure of perceived temperature that takes into account humidity, reaches 95 degrees, the District opens Cooling Centers and encourages residents to take advantage of recreation centers, public libraries, and senior wellness centers. United Planning Organization (UPO) vans travel the city looking for persons in need of water or a ride to a Cooling Center.
If you see someone in need of water or a ride to a Cooling Center, call 1-800-535-7252 and a UPO van will respond. Working together, we can help homeless residents beat the heat.