How Arlington Plans to Keep Vulnerable Residents Safe in the Winter

Published on October 30, 2019

With temperatures continuing to drop as we head through the fall and into winter, Arlington County has activated its plan to keep people who are experiencing homelessness safe during extreme cold. The Cold Weather Plan will be in place from Nov. 1 through the winter months. 

"While we work year-round to move people off the streets and into shelter and housing, as winter approaches we lean forward with our outreach efforts, letting everyone know there's a bed if they want one," said Kurt Larrick, Assistant Director of the Department of Human Services. "For someone living outdoors, a dip in temperature or a winter storm can be deadly." 

Emergency Winter Shelter 

The Homeless Services Center, located at 2020-A 14th St. N and operated by Arlington Street People's Assistance Network (A-SPAN), offers 50 year-round beds and five medical respite beds. Between Nov. 1 and March 31, the center has an additional 25 slots 

In addition, other facilities have been designated to handle overflow in the event of extremely severe weather. There are 15 overflow slots at the Residential Program Center on Columbia Pike and another 10 at the Detention Center through an arrangement with the Arlington County Sheriff's Office. 

During this period, people seeking emergency shelter do not have to call ahead. They can come for shelter during the night and go the next day to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for intake.  

People staying at the shelter will have a safe place to sleep, as well as food, a hot shower, laundry facilities and access to a range of services through DHS and the County's community partners. 

"Throughout the winter, when a storm is predicted, we'll again step up the outreach to let people know we've got a safe place for them," Larrick said. 

Immediate Assistance 

The Department of Human Services' Community Assistance Bureau (CAB) is the first place to contact if you or someone you know is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  

The bureau helpArlingtonians find shelter, emergency food, housing and other vital services. Referrals can be made to all Arlington County shelters. You can reach the bureau by calling 703-228-1300. 

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If you or someone you know is needs a shelter or is at risk of becoming homeless, please call 703-228-1010 anytime 24/7 for assistance.