County’s Hypothermia Prevention Program Opens Dec. 1

2023 homelessness statistics show 10 percent increase in people experiencing homelessness at the Point in Time count.

Consistently cold weather will be on its way soon, with nighttime temperatures dipping into the low 30s and the 20s. Since 2005, the county’s Hypothermia Prevention Program has prevented death and serious injuries among Fairfax County’s most vulnerable residents since 2005 by ensuring that no one must sleep outside during the winter months. 

According to Danien Johnson with the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, the Fairfax County Hypothermia Prevention Program is an integral part of the county’s effort to prevent and end homelessness. The program incorporates the collaborative work of area contracted providers, faith communities, civic organizations, businesses and individual volunteers.

“The protocols for hypothermia season are consistent across the county. During the hypothermia season, due to the added vulnerabilities presented by extremely low temperatures, persons experiencing homelessness can access services through overflow in the emergency shelters,” Johnson said.

The 2023–24 Hypothermia Prevention Program in Fairfax County runs from Dec. 1, 2023, until March 31, 2024. There are sites around the county including in the following communities: Richmond Highway/Alexandria area; Reston/Herndon; Falls Church/Alexandria area; and Fairfax and Centreville.

Last year, the program served an average of 215 guests per night, according to the program’s website. Any adult in need of immediate shelter can receive warm shelter, food and other supportive services to help connect guests to a variety of basic needs such as clothing, employment, housing, and more.

Johnson added that, as space is limited for overflow, sometimes contracted partner agencies must work more collaboratively. “For example, if an individual accesses overflow in the Centreville area but space is unavailable, the provider will contact partners in other regions to determine the availability of space and help the client with transportation to the respective shelter.”

Not all individuals who are experiencing homelessness choose to access shelters, nor do they have access to warm, safe accommodations through friends, family, and other programs and services.

Fairfax County conducted its 2023 Point-In-Time Count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness on the night of Jan. 25, 2023. Results reported 1,310 total persons experiencing homelessness, a 10 percent increase from 2022, including 767 households, 847 adults, and 460 children.

A look at December 2022 temperatures in Fairfax reported for the first week in December 2022, Dec. 1 low of 28; Dec. 2 low of 21; Dec. 3 low of 45; Dec. 4 low of 27.

Getting Family Help

Adults with children (ages 0-17) should contact Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880 (TTY 711), Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for referrals to family-oriented support and services.If you need assistance after hours, contact or visit one of the county’s family shelters – locations and contact information are available

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