‘That Could Be Me': Van Driver Has Helped DC Homeless for Past 16 Years

As thousands of homeless people in D.C. are threatened by dangerously cold temperatures, volunteers are working overtime to help them.

Vincent Blackson, known more often as Bones, has driven the United Planning Organization hypothermia van through the city for the past 16 years.

“That could be me,” Blackson said. “So, I would hope somebody would have the same compassion for me.”

Blackson, along with dozens of other hypothermia van drivers, are working double shifts this week as temperatures stay well below freezing. Those van drivers have transported thousands of homeless people to day centers and distributed blankets, socks, hand warmers and other supplies to many more.

In the past week, more than 3,820 homeless individuals have been transported to day centers that offer hot meals, laundry, medical services and a break from the bitter cold.

More than 7,000 individuals, including over 2,200 children, were homeless in the city last January when District officials partnered with the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness and conducted a one-night count.

If you see someone who needs help getting out of the cold, you can call D.C.’s 311 or contact your local hypothermia hotline.

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