Baltimore County has activated its Freezing Weather Shelter Plan for the season. In place through April 15, the plan allows for the activation of the cold weather shelter to house homeless individuals when the temperature forecast calls for freezing weather (below 32 degrees).
The O.W.E. Center, located at 6901 Security Boulevard (Security Mall South) serves as the County’s freezing weather shelter during this cold weather season. For directions to this location, please call 443-474-3763. During the day, public facilities like shopping malls and places of worship provide respite from the cold weather. Residents are encouraged to adhere to all COVID-19-related requirements for masking and social distancing when utilizing the freezing weather shelter and other public facilities.
Who to Call for a Temporary Shelter Bed
Homeless residents may call 410-887-8463, Option 1, to speak with a screener in the Department of Social Services (DSS) to help identify shelter options. There are a limited number of shelter beds available in Baltimore County and surrounding jurisdictions. DSS performs a vulnerability assessment to prioritize placement in the County's shelters. DSS may be able to refer callers to other resources. All county residents seeking temporary shelter are encouraged to call.
Cold Weather Reminders
The combination of low temperatures and wind chill constitute a threat, especially to certain groups of people: older adults, children and people with respiratory or other health problems. If you are in danger or experiencing severe health problems due to the weather, please call 911. Below are some tips to help you and your family get relief from the cold and stay safe.
Be Cautious and Prepared
- Make sure that you have a 72-hour kit.
- Check on those who are elderly and/or chronically ill.
- Keep infants in a warm room since they lose heat easily.
- Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about exercising or working in the cold.
- If you are hiking, camping or skiing during cold weather, avoid becoming overtired. Be extremely careful when walking in icy areas. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered paths.
- Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer.
- Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages—they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
- Drink warm beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions, consult with your doctor.
Dress Warmly and Stay Dry
Adults and children should wear:
- A hat, a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
- Water-resistant coat and boots
- Several layers of loose-fitting clothing if you are going to be outside
Don’t Leave Your Pets Outdoors
- During extreme weather, bring your pets indoors and provide them with adequate food and water.
- Remember to have an emergency plan for your pet too. Most shelters do not allow pets.
Prevent the Spread of Colds and Flu
- Get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water. And thoroughly scrub hands, wrists, fingernails and between fingers.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick with colds or flu.
- If you get sick, stay home to avoid spreading it to others.
- Avoid crowded places wherever possible.