People Experiencing Homelessness Describe Brutal Realities That Come With A Heatwave
The hardship of being homeless in the winter is well-documented but the challenges of living on the streets in extreme heat can even more brutal and deadly.
Brian has been away travelling for five years and became homeless the day after his birthday in September last year.
"Every summer I try to wear the right gear, but I could do with a pair of shorts," he said.
"These are the only pair of jeans I’ve got and I just roll them up."
Colin, who talked about the challenges of falling ill when you're on the streets.
The 47-year-old said: "It is hard when you're homeless to get medical help."
I then asked Colin about the heat and whether that makes it harder to be on the streets, he said: "Definitely, where I sit is a sun trap all day long.
"You don't get any relief from it until about 6:00 pm when the sun starts to set, so the heat can really get to you."
Nick, 48, and Scarper
Some have the added responsibility of making sure their pets stay hydrated and do not get heatstroke or burned paws.
"This is my dog Scarper,’ said Nick, who has been homeless in London for 15 years."
"I just keep her in the shade and make sure she’s got plenty of water. It’s all I can do."
"I just wish it would just cool down, it’s too much, I hate it. ‘It’s too hot. Even at night it’s too hot. I’m flopping out on the floor with no covers and I’m still roasting."
"I'd just ask people to have a thought for us when it’s hot like this."
Daniel Reynoldson, 37
Daniel said he became homeless more than 10 years ago after serving in the Royal Navy as a weapons operator mechanic.
He said: "I could do with a pair of trousers, I’m getting burnt to buggery. Some sun screen would be awesome."
But what he really wants is some help to find a place of his own.
"Just give me a flat and I can sort myself out,’ he said. ‘If you give me a flat, I’ll be indoors, I’ll get a job and I’ll be sorted."
If members of the public would like to help, they can offer water, sun screen or spare umbrellas to people experiencing homelessness.
People living on the streets may spend nights on the move in order to stay safe, which means they often sleep during the day time, so offering to help someone to find shade could save them from severe sunburn.
On hot days, like today, hundreds of elder men experiencing homelessness will come to Haven Toronto to cool off, grab some water, and eat a nutritious meal.
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