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Mayor Fenty Activates Hypothermia Plan on Eve of Hearing

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty issued the first hypothermia alert Thursday night and dispatched vans across the city to assist the homeless.

"It is important to get the message out that shelter is available," said Fenty, just before he greeted a van loaded with homeless people outside the Cathedral of Sacred Heart in Northwest. The vehicle was leaving a 25-bed day shelter.

Fenty's curbside news conference came on the eve of today's D.C. Council hearing on his "Housing First" initiative, meant to provide "permanent supportive housing" for the homeless.

The plan has become controversial as some homeless activists and advocates have opposed the closing of the downtown Franklin Shelter, and others--including some council members---have questioned how the plan will operate and provide the social services support that some will need if they are placed in apartments.

Hamil R. Harris

But despite Fenty's goals, advocates for the homeless plan to hold a press conference before the hearing in the D.C. Council's Committee on Human Services, to urge Mayor Fenty to reopen the 300 bed Franklin Shelter at 13th and K Street NW. They charge that it was the only "low barrier," shelter in the central business district.
The District has four "low barrier," shelters that takes people regardless of their circumstance from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. There are currently 950 beds for men and 337 for women but during winter the winter additional beds are open when the weather dips below freezing.
The four shelters are located at 801 MLK Avenue SE, 2210 Adams Avenue NE, 1355 New York Avenue NE and 1436 Irving Street NW. For those needing emergency shelter should call 1-800-535-7252.

By Hamil Harris  |  October 31, 2008; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  Mayor Fenty , The Homeless  
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