Frigid Temperatures Put D.C. Homeless At Risk | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Frigid Temperatures Put D.C. Homeless At Risk

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The hypothermia alert in D.C. means more than 1,700 beds are being made available at shelters to keep the homeless warm.

Inside Central Union Mission, men quietly rest soaking up the heat. Some watch TV, others read the bible, anything is better than being outside.

"If you are sleeping out there in that type of environment it is detrimental to the mind as well as the body," says Daniel Ford, who is staying at the shelter.

Ford, 31, is recently homeless and came here as soon as he heard a bed was available.

"You can come here and have the resources to stay warm and to also be able to communicate and socialize and talk to a person," he says.

There is room for 170 homeless men at this mission, where Rutherfood Cook is the director of overnight guest ministries.

"At this facility in particular, our guests don't have to leave in the morning," Cook says. "If it is cold outside they can stay in the facility."

This painful, bone-numbing cold is expected to last several days.  Rec centers are being opened during the daylight hours to act as warming centers.

The D.C. government asks you to call call its Hypothermia Hotline if you see a homeless person stranded in the cold. Vans are available to take them to a shelter. The hotline number is (800) 535-7252.

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