During the 2017-2018 winter season, October 15 through March 15, the Mayor’s Office of Human Services (MOHS) will provide emergency shelter to all people experiencing homelessness on nights when the temperature with wind chill reaches freezing (32 degrees and below).
MOHS has partnered with several existing emergency shelters to increase the number of shelter beds available. Shelter utilization is closely monitored on winter shelter nights. If existing facilities reach full capacity on a winter shelter night, MOHS will activate an additional overflow shelter that can accommodate families, adults, and unaccompanied youth (under 25).
Individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness can access overflow shelter and transportation through two hubs:
Families with Minor Children
Weinberg Housing and Resource Center
Baltimore, MD 21202
1114 N. Mount Street
Baltimore, MD 21217
Shelter seekers should plan to arrive at the appropriate hub for their household type by 6pm to allow sufficient time for transportation to overflow shelter facilities and dinner service. Transportation to overflow shelter will be available until 11pm.
Participating shelters will provide accommodations from 6pm to 11am the next morning. Each person will be provided with dinner and breakfast, access to shower and laundry services, and transportation to/from the shelter.
Winter Shelter Notifications
Each time a winter shelter night is activated (nights when it is 32 degrees or below with wind chill), MOHS will notify the public, homeless service providers, and individuals in need of shelter through several outlets. Individuals can access real-time information on the MOHS website, or call 311, 211, or Baltimore Crisis Response (410-433-5175) to find out if it is a winter shelter night and how to access shelter. Individuals in need of language translation are encouraged to call 211 to receive winter shelter information. Individuals with vision or hearing impairment may access these hotline services through MD Relay 711.
MOHS will also coordinate street outreach teams to notify unsheltered individuals without access to phone or internet about winter shelter availability.
Daily notifications will go out no later than 3pm, but typically are sent out much earlier and for several winter shelter days at a time if the forecast is predicting prolonged cold weather.
MOHS has developed several flyers and posters to help nonprofit agencies and concerned citizens spread the word about winter shelter availability to people living outside. These files can be downloaded and printed at home, your office, or any print shop.
You can now sign up online to receive updates from the Continuum of Care!
Tips From Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen on Cold Weather Tips for Staying Healthy:
- Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing.
- Always wear a head covering, like a hat and/or scarf, when outdoors.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Protect yourself against falls in icy or snowy conditions.
- Check on those who are the most vulnerable, including children, the elderly and/or chronically ill. For babies, follow the ABCDs of infant safe sleep (see resource guide here).
- Provide appropriate shelter for domestic animals.
Other Tips for Keeping Safe in Cold Weather:
- Keep space heaters and candles away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture and loose clothing.
- Check your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are working.
- Do not use prohibited heat or power sources, such as stoves or generators. They may cause fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Do not leave your car running in a closed space such as a garage.
Residents are encouraged to contact 311 if a neighbor is without heat or power so that city agencies can assist them. Energy assistance may be available to those who need it. For more information, individuals may contact one of the regional Community Action Partnership centers in Baltimore or call the Office of Home Energy Programs at 410-396-5555.
For more information about Code Blue, visit http://health.baltimorecity.gov/.
For other cold-related inquiries and service requests, or to find a nearby homeless shelter, residents can call 311 or 211.
Check out this information below to learn how to keep you and your loved ones warm this winter: (or browse the site at your leisure) https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html
Individual and Community Preparedness eBrief
Keep Warm During a Winter Power Outage
Prepare to stay warm if the power goes out in your winter wonderland.
The freezing rain, ice, and snow of winter storms topple trees and knock down power lines.
Be ready with these power outage preparedness tips from The Ready Campaign:
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, water, food, prescription medication, cash, first aid supplies, and extra clothing, blankets or sleeping bags to stay warm.
- Have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. For more information, visit Get Tech Ready.
- If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device, determine a backup plan. For more planning tips, visit Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs.
- Locate the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener and know how to operate it.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
- If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to your home. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Close off unused rooms to consolidate and retain heat.
- The power may be out for a prolonged period. Plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat.
- Only use generators outside, away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage or connect it to your home’s electrical system. For more information, visit the Generator Safety page of the Department of Energy.
Visit Ready.gov for more tips on how to prepare for a Winter Power Outage.
Avoid Hypothermia This Winter
It does not have to be freezing for hypothermia to set in.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hypothermia can occur at temperatures above 40°F. Rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water can cause it.
Know the warning signs and what to do if you suspect you or someone you know may be suffering from hypothermia .
Warnings Signs of Hypothermia
- Body temperature below 95 degrees
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Confusion, fumbling hands
- Memory loss, disorientation
- Incoherence, slurred speech
- Bright red, cold skin
- Very low energy
If someone is suffering from hypothermia, get medical attention immediately and begin warming the person until help arrives. Find several ways to warm a person on the CDC’s Hypothermia page.
If you must go outside, prevent hypothermia by:
- Wearing several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Cover all of your body. Wear a hat and a scarf, covering your mouth to protect your face and to help prevent loss of body heat.
For more information on how to prepare for the winter, visit the Prepareathon Winter Storm section.
New Ready Business Resources in English and Spanish
Prepare your business with the new toolkits and videos from Ready Business.
Organizations and their staff face a variety of hazards. The Ready Business program helps organizations plan for these hazards.
The Ready Business Toolkit series includes hazard-specific versions. The following versions include step-by-step guides in English and Spanish to build preparedness within an organization.
- Earthquake “QuakeSmart” Toolkit
- Hurricane Toolkit
- Inland Flooding Toolkit
- Power Outage Toolkit
- Severe Wind/Tornado Toolkit
The Ready Business videos, available in English and Spanish, briefly explain several key parts of getting ready, such as:
- Staff/Employee Management;
- Physical Surroundings;
- Physical Space;
- Building Construction;
- Systems; and
- Community Service.
Download and view these new resources at www.ready.gov/business.
Webinar: Winter Preparedness Promising Practices: Tools and Resources for Organizations and Families
Learn how to prepare for extreme cold or a winter storm during a webinar on January 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division is holding a winter weather preparedness webinar. Webinar speakers will outline effective preparedness practices and programs for organizations to prepare for extreme cold and winter storms. The webinar will also offer safety tips for communities and families. Plus, the webinar will have a resource sharing session to access various winter weather preparedness materials available for download.
Title: Winter Preparedness Promising Practices: Tools and Resources for Organizations and Families
Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (ET)
This webinar will feature presenters from the following organizations:
- National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Georgia Power
- Burleigh County Snowmobile Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), North Dakota
- Scituate Alliance for Natural Disaster Services (SANDS)
- Individual and Community Preparedness Division, FEMA
How to Join the Webinar:
We hope that you will be able to join us on January 24!
Important Dates to Remember
Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services, or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting [email protected].