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Summer Struggles for the Homeless

“The hardest thing about being homeless for me was not knowing where I was going to lay my head at night,” said Ricky.
After six months of being homeless, Ricky (34) was grateful to find Nashville Rescue Mission, a place he’s called home for six weeks. “I’m grateful I now have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, hot meals to eat, and quick access to water. This gives me a glimmer of hope that things can get better for me.”
“There’s a perception that during the summer, the basic needs of homeless people are lightened, but the demand for food and shelter are as great in July and August, as in the winter. Thankfully, faithful supporters make it possible for Nashville Rescue Mission to offer those in need cold water, air conditioned facilities, and safe refuge from the extreme heat,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission.
Extreme heat events pose a serious danger to people throughout the United States. Specific high-risk groups, like the homeless, typically experience a disproportionate number of health impacts from extreme heat. “Particularly during the summer, the homeless are at a greater risk for dehydration,” said Mike Tatar, lead case manager for the Mission. “Water, shade, and refuge from the heat can be difficult to come by for someone who is homeless. When the humidity is high, sweat does not evaporate rapidly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. This can easily lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, which can be deadly.
 
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“I’ve struggled with drugs and alcohol off and on for years,” said Karl (52). “This has led to multiple episodes of homelessness. I can tell you one thing, sleeping outside is not fun. I came to Nashville Rescue Mission in need of a safe place. I found that and so much more. Over the past six months I worked closely with a case manager who helped point me in the right direction. The Pathways to Work program allowed me the opportunity to work and save money. I found a job at Belmont University and recently found a place to call all my own.”
At 59, Roy has seen his fair share of hard times and has struggled with episodes of homelessness off and on since 2008. “I’ve found shelter in a number of places,” shared Roy. “But nothing compares to Nashville Rescue Mission—this place is a ‘Spiritual Hospital.’ Not only have I received food for my body, I’ve received food for my soul. I might be homeless, but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.”


With your help, others like Ricky, Roy, and Karl can have hope for today.

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