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A Cold Squeeze On Shelter

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

As the cold temperatures bring more of the District's homeless to temporary emergency shelters, they're beginning to fill up.

When temperatures begin reaching the freezing point, homeless shelters in the area expand capacity and don't turn anyone away. In D.C., that's a legal requirement.

Marta Beresin is with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. She says the emergency shelter space for homeless families is very tight.

"There's one hypothermia site for families now, with 100 units, and those units are full. They think they can squeeze in potentially four more families into that facility. The city is planing to add a new facility with 20-25 units, hopefully this week, but it hasn't been open yet," says Beresin.

She says families come in every day looking for shelter.

"So it's really at a critical point right now," she says.

The pressure on shelters won't let up soon. Temperatures are expected to warm slightly this week, but a new arctic front this weekend will bring lows into the teens.

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