The Tysons area narrowly avoided snowstorms that hit much of the rest of Virginia yesterday, but cold weather still ahead could pose a threat to the local homeless population.
According to the Mayo Clinic, visible signs that someone may be experiencing hypothermia include shivering, clumsiness, or signs of confusion or memory loss. Victims of hypothermia may have slurred speech or mumble, and may exhibit shallow breathing. Drowsiness, or unconsciousness, are also associated with hypothermia.
If you see a person who may be at risk of hypothermia, Fairfax County says you should call the police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131 for them to be taken to one of the local hypothermia prevention shelters.
The Hypothermia Prevention Program is part of the county’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness. Local hypothermia shelters operate seven days a week with a no turn-away policy outside of normal operating hours, based on weather conditions and temperatures.
The closest shelter to Tysons is the Falls Church Homeless Shelter at 217 Gordon Road, which is scheduled to operate seven days a week until March 31. Doors at the shelter open at 6 p.m. and close at 8 a.m. The shelter can accommodate twelve individuals.
The shelter provides a warm bed and case management services, which includes employment and housing assistance. Hot meals, prepared by families, faith communities and local restaurants, are delivered every evening.
The next closest is the Embry Rucker Community Shelter in Reston. Hot dinner, breakfast, bagged lunches, showers, laundry, and basic self-care supplies are all made available to individuals participating in the program.
At least once a week, nurse practitioners will be visiting the hypothermia shelters to check on patients, and medical outreach workers will visit to assist with enrollment into the Community Health Care Network’s free clinic.
Photo and graphic via Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness.