Sweltering Heat Affects Homeless
COLUMBIA - With temperatures in the triple digits for six days and no relief in sight, the high heat is especially hard on those without a home.
In St. Louis and Kansas City, there have been several deaths of people exposed to high temperatures. In Mid-Missouri, homeless shelters are flooded with people who need relief. Some of those shelters are beyond capacity. Despite the capacity, the shelters are still welcoming those who need help escaping the temperatures.
Many shelters in the area have opened doors for anyone to cool off. Cooling centers also allow the homeless to get temporary relief from the weather. But with temperatures so hot during the day, it takes several hours for the night time temperatures to reach a cool level. And without constant access to water, they are at higher risks of heat strokes and heat related injury.
Cindy Chapman works for the Salvation Army which also runs Harbor House in Columbia and Center of Hope in Jefferson City. The two centers have put more cots out to meet increased demand at night. They are also trying to encourage visitors to drink water and take plenty with them.
"It's hard to meet demand. We need help from the public to donate bottled or canned beverages. We provide water here but we like to send hydration with people when they leave our center," says Chapman.
The Harvest House in Boonville has also experienced increase demand. It has room for 17 beds and increased that number to 20. It is expecting even more demand with the non-stop high temperatures.