In Heat Wave, Dangers For The Homeless

Jul 4, 2018

With daytime heat indexes soaring into the 90s, homeless residents are finding it hard to get respite from the baking heat. Their primary concerns include heat exhaution and access to air conditing.

In Providence, Jay Defusco found a shady dowtown park bench, where he sat in the searing mid-day heat with his service dog.

"We're going anywhere where we can sit in the AC, but we don't have any money because we're homeless, so we can't just go and sit around," Defusco said.

While many business won't allow non-paying customers to stay indefinitely, Defusco said area restaurants have been supplying him with water.

Karen Santilli, president of Crossroads RI, said health concerns, icluding heat exhaustion, make summer a dangerous time for the homeless.   

“Heart disease, heat exhaustion, all of the issues that people who are housed deal with are magnified when you’re homeless and living on the street,” Santilli said.

One night this week, Santilli reported that 29 people slept on the floor of the Crossroads facility because they had nowhere else to go. If temperatures spike again later in the month, she expects more homeless individuals to use the facility.