Globally, human-induced climate change has been estimated to account for 37% of heat-related deaths. For most of us counting down the days for heatwave season is exciting but when the time comes, we find it hard to do anything because the heat can become unbearable especially for people experiencing homelessness that spend hours on the streets with no shelter or shade to go to.
The harsh reality is that for a lot of rough sleepers who spend hours in the sun are at very high risk of sunstroke and heat exhaustion especially for those with underlying illnesses and mental health issues.
Think about the times where you needed to escape from the heat into shade, air-conditioning or the moments where you just need to quench your thirst with a cold glass of water. Let's try and make sure we can do the most to save people from the heat.
Here are 5 smart ways you can help protect our neighbours on the street:
Freeze bottles or cartons of water
Make sure the bottles are not filled to the brim with water before you freeze them but handing out frozen bottles of water will help people cool down from the heatwave and once the water is melted, they can drink it. We’d recommend giving half frozen bottles so if they are thirsty at least they can drink the water straight away!
Donate any sunglasses, hats or umbrellas you no longer use
Sunglasses, hats and umbrellas can help provide a bit of shade or shelter as well as UV protection that can really save someone from skin damage and ultimate sun exposure.
Give them old school hand held fans
Yes, we are talking about those old school hand held fans that are made out of paper or fabric. We wouldn’t recommend donating portable fans as they can run out of battery quite easily. Hand held fans are lightweight and the perfect accessory to help someone get a bit of manual wind to cool off from the heat.
Heading to the supermarket? Ice lollies or a fruit salad
People experiencing homelessness get handed many meal deals a day and for those who don’t know what a meal deal is, it’s essentially a sandwich, bag of crisps and a soft drink. Health is extremely important for those on the street so instead of handing them another bag of crisps, give them a nice fruit ice lolly or a cold fruit salad bowl that you can also easily find in supermarkets.
Sport drinks to help with hydrations not tea of coffee!
Tea and coffee is perfect for the winter as it’s a nice drink to keep people warm when the streets are cold. But tea and coffee can be dehydrating so instead, give them a sports drink with lots of electrolytes that can keep them hydrated in the heat.
Join us in helping us prevent heat related issues during the summer especially for those living on the streets!