Dear Ace: I’ve got central air in my house as well as a car that dips down to Kelvin if need be, and I’m hardly surviving this summer. Tell me, how are the homeless dealing with the heat wave?—Sympathetic Sweater
Sweater: Heat wave?!? What heat wave? Then again, when you’re as ice cold as Ace, it’s hard to keep track of the temperature outside. But as he checked the weather forecast, Ace detected that local temperatures had been in the 90s for about 12 straight days. So, for folks without their own climate controlled Atkins compound, outdoor conditions must have been dreadful.
To find out how the homeless population (officially counted at 156) has been dealing with the heat, Ace contacted his friend Evan Scully at the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless.
It turns out that local organizations have been able to adequately provide the homeless with a place to cool off and rehydrate during the most dangerous part of the day. Scully says, “The accessible, air-conditioned local soup kitchens offer food, water and air-conditioning during the midday heat.”
Despite the triple-digit heat index, the TJACH did not report any health ailments due to the weather. (Ace gets a rash just thinking about a 110-degree heat index!) And even though it’s been hot, temperatures have not been hot enough to open an emergency air-conditioned shelter for the homeless.
According to Scully, the Salvation Army is the primary provider for the homeless population. Surprising to Ace, the Salvation Army reports that resident numbers have not increased with the recent heat spell. In addition to fulfilling its regular mission of providing shelter residents with food, water, showers and an air-conditioned environment, Major Bruce Smith, the executive director of the Salvation Army, says the shelter has “been distributing electric fans to families in need that are not eligible for social services.”
For the homeless and the homed alike, the good news is that, if you believe the weather folks, the heat wave should be over for the summer. And just in time, too. Ace was starting to think he’d have to haul his chill self all around the city, just to keep things cool.