Earlier this winter on Veterans Day weekend, a DC resident found herself ill-prepared to handle the near-freezing temperatures the latest cold front brought to the city. She had neither warm clothes nor shelter, although both are readily available in the District. She laid down on a bench near Union Station, and by the time a passerby discovered her early on the morning of November 11 and called 911, it was too late. She died shortly thereafter.
Hypothermia, a consistent threat to DC’s residents experiencing homelessness during the winter, can and should be prevented, and the HopeOneSource program is committed to helping DC Government and service providers leverage its technology to ensure everyone is able to escape the cold this winter.
HopeOneSource is a collaborative messaging technology that allows local government agencies like DC Department of Human Services to create and distribute emergency hypothermia alerts when temperatures approach freezing. These alerts, often containing critical information about how to access shelter, are sent out as text messages to the 1500 individuals and families at-risk or experiencing homelessness that are currently registered to receive messages through HopeOneSource.
Over 200 local career, housing and social service providers also use HopeOneSource, to send information about their available services to vulnerable DC residents who need their help.
“We’re going to be working hard with local government and non-government service providers to help ensure every resident at-risk or experiencing homelessness in the District has the information they need to quickly access safety and warmth this winter,” says Tim Underwood, Executive Director of HopeOneSource.
HopeOneSource is a critical part of DC Government’s 2019 Winter Plan. The program’s local, all-volunteer team will work closely with DC government leadership to ensure emergency alerts are sent out each and every time temperatures approach freezing or extreme weather approaches this winter. HopeOneSource will also work with DC Government to provide more of DC’s most vulnerable residents with the opportunity to register for these often lifesaving text alerts, including enabling residents at-risk or experiencing homelessness who don’t own a phone to access a no cost government Lifeline phone plan with unlimited text messages.