The homeless face many economic hardships and societal discrimination, making it incredibly difficult to get out of that situation once one finds themself there. I should know, considering I’m also homeless. I make by the best I can, using library computers to search for available jobs and aide programs. I frequent community soup kitchens and homeless shelters, doing my best to make use of the resources available to me, but there’s only so much these places can offer. And, with the recent heat, what they offer isn’t enough. Being homeless during a heat wave could very well be a death sentence if you’re unable to find a way to beat the heat. While many shelters have air conditioning, their policies often mandate that you must leave the premises during the day, and only return for a place to sleep at night, kicking everyone out of the air conditioned shelter for the majority of the day during the time when the heat is at its worst. Many air conditioned properties, such as restaurants and stores, will enforce a “no loitering policy” against the homeless, but not other citizens, based on unkempt appearances so that their other customers aren’t made uncomfortable by the presence of the homeless. Without proper temperature control, there is an increased risk of heat stroke as the temperature rises, along with other health problems such as dehydration. Luckily, many of the local churches have banded together and announced that they will be converting much of their space into shelters for people like myself during this heat wave. No one should suffer from a lack of air conditioning when it’s such a common commodity here, with nearly every building sporting its own HVAC equipment, but sadly that’s not the case. So, for all the other homeless trying to get by and beat the heat, I wish you luck.
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