When asked which season is the most dangerous for America’s nearly 580,000 homeless people, most of us think winter. But winter isn’t the only dangerous season with extreme temperatures. It’s actually the summer months, with their blistering heat, that pose the greatest threat.
Supporting the homeless this summer matters, and here’s why:
Living Unsheltered in Extreme Heat is Very Dangerous
America is facing a record-breaking heatwave this summer, and prolonged exposure to high temperatures without the chance to properly cool down can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Approximately 702 people die every year from these heat-related illnesses. Shelter and adequate access to water, both of which are far more difficult to access for the homeless, are key to avoiding heat-related illnesses.
Many Living Unsheltered Have Health Conditions That Can Be Exasperated by the Heat
Facing extreme heat for protracted periods of time is hard enough without any additional factors—imagine how much worse it is if you have medical conditions aggravated by extended heat and sunlight exposure.
Many autoimmune conditions, skin disorders, and respiratory diseases are magnified and/or triggered by exertion in the heat. Like the general housed population, these conditions and diseases affect a significant number of the homeless, and in many cases are even more prevalent.
Helping the Homeless is About Doing the Right Thing
In many ways, our greatest every-day challenge is to avoid falling victim to the out of sight, out of mind idiom. Like most difficult challenges we overcome, making the choice—every day—to witness the humanity in strangers near and far takes discipline and heart. Every population has its most vulnerable members, and we should do our part (however small or large it might seem) to protect, provide for, and improve their lives in what ways we can.
Helping End Homelessness in Durham and Raleigh, NC
Donate your old umbrellas, hats, battery-operated fans, and other items that can help someone beat the heat. You can donate to homeless shelters, or charities geared toward helping the homeless.
Spread the Word About CASA
Perhaps the best way you can help people without homes this summer is to support our mission of providing permanent and affordable housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill communities. We offer supportive housing for veterans and those with disabilities, along with workforce housing for those earning a low income.