04 Jun Summer break for the homeless? Not so much.
Have you ever heard, or thought, that it must be easier to be homeless during the summer, that the only real weather-emergency is during the winter? The reality is just the opposite. For our homeless neighbors, and agencies like Wheeler Mission, summer poses incredible threats and dangers.
Here’re just 4 reasons:
1. Perilous heat
Imagine you’re a homeless, 50 year-old man. With no home or support, you’re forced to roam every day, wearing and carrying everything you own. You can’t abandon your coat; you’ll need it in a few months. So you wear it or haul it in a trash bag with the rest of your tattered belongings. Clothes are drenched in sweat, and your skin is infected because you haven’t bathed in weeks…or months. You’re desperate for rest, but sleeping outside leaves you vulnerable to crime and violence. So you wander.
Everyone on the streets is at extreme risk for dehydration and heat stroke, but elderly individuals, pregnant women, and children are especially vulnerable. Without access to water, our neighbors risk brain damage, seizures, shock, and death.
3. Kids out of school
Did you know that homelessness among families (primarily women with children) rises in the summer? While difficult to track, so many are homeless, but couch surf or double up with friends or family. That may “work” for a time, but eventually, they’re told to leave. This trend typically spikes just as school lets out, when kids are home all day. Hosts may feel so overwhelmed that they tell the family to find a new place to stay. More often than not, the family eventually exhausts all options and has nowhere to go.
4. Donations drop
Summer is distracting—we’re focused on breaks from school, family gatherings, vacations, etc. As a result, donations to shelters and agencies—like Wheeler Mission—significantly drop. The demand for services doesn’t wane, however, and providers are strapped and stretched to keep up with the demand.
As you can see, summer provides no respite for our homeless neighbors; the need for help is critically high. Will you join us to help our neighbors escape this heat?
With you’re help, we’re saving lives!