Heat Swells, Causing Shelters to Fill Up

July may almost be over, but that doesn’t mean that the heat wave that has been causing havoc across America is going to be stopping anytime soon. At one point last week, almost half of the country was faced with heat wave warnings and there have actually been a number of deaths attributed to heat exhaustion and dehydration. There have been a number of local agencies putting out information about protecting yourself from the heat and avoiding any negative health effects from the sun as well. One topic not discussed as much has been the necessity for emergency shelters in weather like this.

When it comes to sheltering the homeless, many only think about how shelters are used in the winter to protect from the cold, but there is a need for this sheltering in the heat as well. A story from KBMC discusses the overflow of homeless people at a shelter in Missouri:

“The Salvation Army homeless shelter in Independence, Mo., is overflowing with people trying to escape the heat.The Crossroads shelter on Truman Road is the Salvation Army’s only 24-hour shelter. KMBC’s Bev Chapman reported that the shelter has 10 rooms and usually serves as a temporary shelter for homeless families.

The shelter has a 60-bed capacity, and on Thursday night it had set up extra cots to try and squeeze in an additional 20 people. Major Butch Frost of the Salvation Army told Chapman said the shelter is bursting at the seams. He also said he might have to open the community center next door to set up more cots to accommodate more people.”

Emergency shelters are crucial in situations like these, not just the disasters we have discussed in this blog before. Protecting people from the harsh effects of any kind of weather is an important use for temporary shelters as well as providing instant residences for the displaced as well.