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Can't Stand the Heat

Sun packs its own misery for those on the street

While most people are looking forward to the sunny days of summer, those living on the streets are just waiting for the sun to set. Homeless people are often deemed unwelcome in the cool comfort of malls, libraries and other public facilities, therefore they often roam the streets, looking for an escape from the heat.

Often the only escape they can find is under a hot interstate overpass where the exhaust fumes from the cars driving by hardly makes it worthwhile.

“In the summertime, you roast out here. You’ve got to find a cool place in the shade somewhere if you want to survive,” says Larry, a homeless man living on the streets of Nashville.

“If you have a place to cool off, summer is great,” says Ed Grimes, Director of Transient Operations for the Nashville Rescue Mission. “But for those forced to live among the elements, the hot weather can be fatal. The Mission provides the homeless with a place out of the sun and food to eat. We also keep plenty of water on hand for those in need.”

Efforts to help homeless beat heat

If last year is any indication, Nashville may be in for a very hot summer. In 2008, Nashville’s summer months saw an average high of 89 degrees with more than 46 days with temperatures well above 90 degrees.

When the forecast shows temperatures above 90, the Mission’s “Hot Patrol” hits the streets. “As a way to provide relief from the summer heat, we send out a group of people to patrol the streets of Nashville offering bottled water to our city’s homeless,” says Grimes.

During the summer months, everyone is trying to beat the heat. With temperatures likely to be extreme, Grimes says giving bottled water to those in need is both thoughtful and necessary because it could prevent dehydration and possible illness.

Your support changes lives

“When it’s a sunny day out, remember there are still people living on the streets,” Grimes said. “You figure how hot it is for us, and we are usually just dashing into our vehicles and into the store, in and out of air conditioning,” says Grimes. “Imagine what it’s like living out in the heat.”

As a faithful supporter of the Nashville Rescue Mission, we hope you realize how critical your support is to the homeless and hurting in the Nashville area. Through your support, the Mission can provide food, clothing and shelter to our needy neighbors. You help provide these men, women and children an escape from the intense heat. Because of you, they have a place to go, food to eat, clothes to wear, a safe place to sleep and a bottle of cold water.

Next time you’re sweltering as you briefly tolerate the heat dashing between your air-conditioned workplace, car and couch, pray for those without air conditioning, a home or any shelter at all, and realize you are helping to make a difference in their lives. More than that, your support of the Mission offers them a place they will soon find out has a message of hope powerful enough to get them off the streets for good.

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