After leaving an unsafe living situation, Ricky often sought shelter and refuge under bridges and overpasses. But because of you and your support, he found a place of safety and support at Nashville Rescue Mission.
Even though most heat-related deaths are preventable through outreach and intervention, did you know that heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States? It causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. According to the Centers for Disease Control, around 1,000 people in the United States were killed by extreme heat last year.
For someone living on the streets like Ricky, the risks are even more significant. They are especially vulnerable as exposure to extreme heat can lead to potentially deadly illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Hot temperatures can also contribute to deaths from heart attacks, strokes, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
While the warmer temperatures might mean fun in the sun for most people—enjoying all the outdoors has to offer—it brings about a new season of challenges for a man or woman experiencing homelessness. Summers in Nashville can be especially brutal.
SWELTERING SUMMER TEMPS
In 2020, Nashville endured over 65 days of severe temperatures upwards of 90 degrees between May and September. In a city where most people know it’s not the heat, but the humidity that puts people most at risk, all but two days in the month of July were over 90-degree days and averaged a relative humidity of 75 percent.
Ricky grew up in Mississippi, which rivals the heat and humidity of Nashville. Before coming to the Mission, he spent time sleeping under different bridges and overpasses. Not only were these places dangerous and unsafe, but they also put him at a greater risk of disease, even death.
“When I first came to Nashville I was living with my brother for a while,” shared Ricky. “But it wasn’t a good environment for me. I had to find somewhere else to go, to get away from that situation. I thought about sleeping under a bridge again, but that is a bitter place to be when it’s cold. And when it’s hot, it’s downright deadly.”
“This place did more than just help me with food, clothing, and shelter.” -Ricky
A PLACE OF REST AND REFUGE
“I’m so thankful for Nashville Rescue Mission,” Ricky said. “This place did more than just help me with food, clothing, and shelter. The Mission has provided me with spiritual support. It feels so much better to be inside where it’s cool and safe.”
“I’m working and saving my money, so I can eventually move into a place of my own. I’ve struggled to find a place where I can afford to live. But the case managers here have been so helpful and supportive—I have no doubt something will pan out soon.”
“For Ricky and others like him, Nashville Rescue Mission is more than a place where they can get their basic needs met,” said Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission. “It’s a place where they can find support with housing placement, resources to assist with obtaining their identification, mental health assistance, and so much more. The Mission is available to anyone in need. But we are dedicated to helping underserved populations who are the ones most likely to be affected by excessive heat.”