Homeless Shelters Brace For Winter Influx | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Homeless Shelters Brace For Winter Influx

Play associated audio
Cold spells are felt the hardest in the D.C. area's homeless population.
Markette Smith
Cold spells are felt the hardest in the D.C. area's homeless population.

Imagine one degree in temperature completely changing the course of your day. For homeless men and women in Arlington, Virginia, it's the deciding factor on whether or not they can stay in the warmth of an emergency winter shelter.

The difference of a degree

"If the high for the day is predicted to be below freezing, then we have an agreement with the county that we're committed to keep the shelter open during the day," explains Meg Tucillo of Arlington Street Peoples Assistance Network.

The high for Tuesday is expected to be 33 degrees -- one degree above freezing. Tucillo is hopeful forecast will change, otherwise, she says, "Our clients need to be gone by 9 a.m. in the morning."

For those affected, this may be the last winter that policy is in effect. In December, the Arlington County Board voted to move forward on making an offer to purchase a building in the Courthouse Metro neighborhood that may include a year-round Homeless Services Center with shelter beds. If the county is able to purchase the building, then planning and debate will be opened as to best use of the facility.

The struggle for families

But what about families in need of housing? John Woodard of the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless says his agency has space in its longterm shelter for 10 families at their Clarendon facility -- women and children only. During the coldest time of the year, he says the need for services is overwhelming.

"Weather doesn't stop evictions," says Woodard. I would dare say, if people think about it, everybody knows somebody who's on the verge or one paycheck away from living under a bridge."

According to Woodard, if it's a dire situation, the county may pay for a family to stay in a hotel.

"We're not going to put people out on the street in the sub-zero weather, but it s a cost to the county, its a cost to the taxpayer and it's a problem because people don't have other places to go."

NPR

'Frozen' Characters Holding Strong For Costume Of The Year

Audie Cornish checks in with Richard Parrott of the New York City costume chain Ricky's. He tells us whether his predictions on this year's most popular costumes were correct.
NPR

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

If you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you'll be facing a candy glut. One possible solution? Sell it to a dentist participating in a program that sends candy care packages to troops.
NPR

In New Hampshire, Two Different Tales Of Scott Brown's State Jump

The very close U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire could come down to where Republican challenger Scott Brown is from.
NPR

After Mass Protests, Hungary Gives Up On Internet Tax

The government had proposed taxing Internet usage, but opponents claimed it the government was trying to impose a digital iron curtain on Hungary.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.