Resources for Helping Folks Who Are Homeless This Winter

Resources for Helping Folks Who Are Homeless This Winter


It’s getting cold out there and this can mean bad news for anyone who doesn’t have a place to go. There are many services that help those who are homeless or without food and shelter. I personally support some of them, like DC Central Kitchen, God's Love We Deliver, and SF-Marin Food Bank, which have some great programs that help lots of people.

RAD CAMPAIGN- Warning Signs HypothermiaThere have already been 4 hypothermia-related deaths in Portland alone since 2017 began and there are many more people in cities across the country who are at a serious risk for hypothermia. At any one time there may be up to 200,000 people in the US living without shelter. This is a real problem and we should do something about it.

There are many ways for you to help. During the winter months, many states around the country offer services that help people who are homeless avoid hypothermia and stay safe from tough weather. These are usually open during the winter season from November through March depending on your state. In Washington, DC, a Hypothermia Alert is called when the temperature falls to 32° Fahrenheit.

You may be wondering how the service works. You can call anytime. It varies by state but often, upon contacting 311 or calling a local shelter you will be asked by a trained operator to explain the problem. You can let them know your location, and that there may be someone who's homeless at risk of hypothermia. They will dispatch folks to do a wellness check and talk to the person you called about and, if necessary, give them a ride to a shelter so they can stay safe for the night.

RAD CAMPAIGN- Help the Homeless ColdThe whole thing is anonymous, which means you don’t have to share any personal information if you don’t want to. 311, 211, and 1800 numbers are also free to call so you don’t have to worry about being billed for helping someone out.

Here’s a list of numbers you can call for help in several states:

– Ann Arbor, MI: (734) 961-1999 for Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

– Atlanta, GA: (404) 447-3678 for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless

Baltimore, MD: 311

– Birmingham, AL: (205) 252-9571 for the Firehouse Shelter

– Boston, MA: (617) 635-4500

– Chicago, IL: 311

– Denver, CO: (720) 944-1007 for Denver’s Road Home during business hours or 311 24/7

– Detroit, MI: 1 (800) 274-3583 and 1-800-343-4427

– Kansas City, MO: (816) 474-5112

– Minneapolis, MN: 1 (888) 234-1329

– New Haven, CT: 211

– New York City, NY:311

– Philadelphia, PA: (215) 232-1984 for the Project HOME Homeless Outreach Hotline

– Pittsburgh, PA: (412) 779-1329

Portland, OR: (503) 823-3333 or 211

– San Francisco, CA: 311

– St. Louis, MO: (314) 802-5444

– Syracuse, NY: (315) 416-9237

– Washington, D.C.: (202) 399-7093 or 311. You can also email

For a comprehensive list of shelters in Chicago, check out this page and for a list of shelters in NY state, click here. You can also follow @DCHypothermia on Twitter to stay up-to-date on alerts in the DMV.

There are also many orgs that are really serious and are helping to fight this problem. We Are Family DC offers transportation for seniors for all different kinds of services, so if you see a senior citizen in need of some help you can contact them during business hours at (202) 487-8698.

Let’s do all we can to help out, especially during the cold winter months. It’s important to keep an eye out, and call for help – don't assume someone else has already done it. And, if you’re able, try volunteering at a local shelter or for your state’s 311 service. You could save a life.

If there’s a number I’m forgetting or an org that’s helping the homeless stay safe during the winter, please comment below and, please, be sure to share this post. Thanks!



Curtis Allen

Lets do our share to help homeless people….Remember there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving. – Acts 20:35

CJ O'Mara

Thank you so much for using the words "homeless PEOPLE" instead of 'the homeless'.

People should never be described as their condition.

If I could do ONE thing, I would convince the media of all types to use the adjective of a person's condition followed by the word PEOPLE or PERSON(s). Example: homeless PEOPLE, disabled PEOPLE, blind PEOPLE, elderly PEOPLE, poor PEOPLE, hungry PEOPLE, etc.

Doing this would humanize people in the minds of the public and help them realize that the condition associated with a person is not WHO that person really is.
Thanks again and God bless you.

Evan Ravitz

This is good, but hi tech has a special responsibility which only the really smart and compassionate like Ellen Musk have addressed. A new study shows a 85% of job losses in the US since 2000 are from automation not globalization. Royal Bank of Scotland predicted in January that 30-50 percent of all jobs in the developed world are being automated. It's of course much worse in the third world. Musk favors a guaranteed minimum income which Finland and Ontario are about to start trying.

Even for heartless people creating a desperate underclass is really stupid, functioning as a reservoir of disease and crime. Any poor person who won't steal to feed their kids is less than human. Don't make them!


Hi I read all your messages about some that may be homeless, well myself Ive been Homeless for about 1 week and Im in the City of Phoenix, AZ. I recently lost my job of almost 3 yrs being there. But we had a fallout and Disagreement. its been about 4 days since ive eaten a full meal. but I Have God on my side and with Jesus Im always filled with the Holy Ghost. Anyways THANK YOU for all your efforts and Support and May GOD Always Bless you al.

Tiffany Lee Brown

Folks in Central Oregon who prefer to live independently, in tents in the woods: if you need to come in from the cold, there is in Bend the Bethlehem Inn shelter. If you're in the immediate vicinity of Sisters, a temporary cold weather shelter has been set up. Read about it at The Nugget newspaper.

Jack Bienko

Thanks for sharing these resources Craig. The United Way supported 211 system directs individuals to local resources in hundreds of communities across the US. Their Info & Referral network is quite impressive so folks should make sure to try 211 when in doubt (see or if web access is available). Jack

Comments are closed.