It’s easy to assume that it’s “easier” to be homeless in the summer months, however, can you imagine having no place to go with the climbing heat? The heat makes the homeless vulnerable to dehydration, extreme sunburn, and other heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can occur when a person’s body is unable to compensate for the increase in temperature and can’t properly cool down. Usually, a person’s body tries to cool itself down by sweating and evaporation, but sometimes it’s just not enough.
People experiencing homeless are under a great amount of stress already from their difficult living conditions, adding unbearable heat can affect not only their physical health, but their mental health as well.
Here are 5 things you can keep in your car as you come across those experiencing homelessness this summer:
- Water – Keep some cases of bottled water in your car or any electrolyte filled drink. When you see someone on the streets, hand them a bottle. Homeless people are vulnerable to dehydration and water can be life saving for them.
- Sunscreen & Bug spray – Many don’t think about this, but we keep our skin healthy from the sunrays and so should the homeless. They may not have shelter during the day and with their skin being exposed it’s easy to get extreme sunburn or tons of bug bites.
- Referral Cards – If you know of shelters or resources for the homeless keep the cards in your wallet and hand it out when you see someone on the streets. This tells them where they can go to get out of the heat, find a meal, a place to stay, a place to transform their life, etc.
- Small Fans – You can find battery operated fans at the Dollar Store for $1 and sometimes get them cheaper when bought in bulk. We all know what it’s like to get in a nice air-conditioned room in the summer, but the homeless don’t all have that opportunity. Grab some batteries at the dollar store with it and you can make someone’s day.
- Hats – You can also find these at the Dollar Store for $1. Can you imagine having the sun in your face all day? These can help more than you know.
There are many other items the homeless need, but these are just a few that can really help during summer months. Check with your local homeless shelter to see what items are most in need at the time if you would like to help out your community. Be the change in someone’s life and make a difference. You can also reach out to Humanity for the Homeless if you are unsure on your local shelters or where to get started.