Beat the Heat: Resources for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Extreme heat poses serious health risks, especially for those without shelter. Staying cool and hydrated is essential to avoid heat-related illnesses. Here are some vital resources and tips to help you stay safe during extreme heat.

Visit Cool Options NYC to find a cooling center near you.

Tips to Stay Cool and Safe

  1. Stay Hydrated
    • Drink water frequently. Look for public water fountains in parks, community centers, or other public spaces.
    • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or high sugar content as they can dehydrate you.
  2. Seek Shade and Cooler Areas
    • Find shaded areas in parks, under trees, or public buildings like libraries and malls.
    • Cooling centers are set up during extreme heat events; these are air-conditioned facilities open to the public.
  3. Use Cooling Resources
    • Take advantage of public pools, splash pads, or fountains to cool off.
    • Use wet cloths or bandanas on your neck, wrists, and forehead to lower your body temperature.
  4. Wear Appropriate Clothing
    • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
    • Use hats and sunglasses to protect against sun exposure.
  5. Avoid Peak Heat Hours
    • Try to stay out of direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, typically from 10 AM to 4 PM.
    • Plan your movements and activities for early morning or late evening when it is cooler.

Resources and Where to Find Help

  1. Cooling Centers
    • Cities and communities often open cooling centers during heatwaves. These are air-conditioned spaces where you can rest and stay cool.
    • Check with local shelters, community centers, or city websites for the nearest cooling center locations.
  2. Public Buildings and Spaces
    • Libraries, shopping malls, community centers, and transit stations often have air-conditioned areas where you can seek refuge.
    • Parks and recreational centers may also have shaded areas or cooling facilities.
  3. Emergency Shelters
    • Emergency shelters may extend their hours or increase capacity during extreme heat events.
    • Contact local shelters to find out about extended services and availability.
  4. Hydration Stations
    • Some cities set up hydration stations offering free water bottles and shaded rest areas.
    • Look for these stations in parks, near community centers, and other central locations.
  5. Mobile Outreach Services
    • Many organizations operate mobile units that distribute water, sunscreen, hats, and other supplies to those in need.
    • These services often patrol areas known to be frequented by homeless individuals.
  6. Health and Safety Services
    • If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heat-related illness (such as dizziness, nausea, headache, or confusion), seek medical help immediately.
    • Many cities have hotlines or services for medical emergencies and information on local resources.

How to Find Help

  • Call 2-1-1: This nationwide service can provide information on local resources, including cooling centers, shelters, and emergency services.
  • Visit Local Shelters: Shelters often have information on additional resources and extended services during heatwaves.
  • Check Community Boards and Websites: Local community centers, libraries, and city websites often post updates on available resources during extreme heat events.

Staying informed and taking advantage of available resources can make a significant difference in staying safe during extreme heat. Look out for one another and take steps to protect yourself and others from the dangers of high temperatures.

Stay safe, stay cool, and remember there are resources available to help you through this challenging time.

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