KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many people in the Kansas City metro can’t escape the heat, since there’s nowhere for them to go.
There’s a special community effort to help the homeless as temperatures soar into triple digits.
The National Weather Service’s Excessive Heat Warning for the metro extends through Friday. Heat indices are well above 100 degrees and will remain high for a few days.
Concerns for the homeless are urgent according to representatives with metro non-profits geared toward people who don’t have homes. Escaping the heat is difficult for those with no shelter. Metro shelters are among the groups who need help, as they strive to help people at their wits end.
At Shelter KC, shelter directors are hopeful for more donated bottled water. Eric Burger, that non-profit’s executive director, watches his supply of donated bottled water rise and fall, depending on demand. When the weather gets this hot, the shelter might hand out 20 cases of cold water per week. Burger said his shelves were completely empty a few days ago.
“If you get two more days like this, (his supply) will last. When you get those 10-day spreads, this will go really fast,” Burger said.
Advocates for the homeless say donated bottles of water are vital since they can help avoid dehydration and mental health emergencies.
Shelter KC is among those non-profits that are currently crowded to capacity, and treating summertime weather crises the same as cold weather might warrant. Shelter KC has 60 beds, and room for another 20 on mats. Burger said the shelter is full by 7 p.m. every evening right now.
“We know the community will respond when we have the need, but usually, until you’re worried about the heat yourself, until you’re experiencing it, it’s like everything. That’s when it gets people’s attention,” Burger said.
The needs of the homeless seem to ramp up when weather events hit. Most people living on the street are usually ordered to leave public stores and offices regardless of the weather.
On Tuesday night, KC Heroes organized its weekly houseless picnic at Washington Square Park. People living on the streets were offered meat, clothing, counseling and free haircuts, too. Jennifer McCartney, KC Heroes director, said the public should be concerned about these people when heatwaves hit.
“When it’s over 100 degrees, people are going to die. That’s a given. It’s going to happen. We’re going to start seeing it. We saw it last year,” McCartney told FOX4.
Most non-profit shelters, including the City Union Mission and Nourish KC, could benefit from donations from the public. Those groups have instructions on their respective websites as to how the public can share their kindness.
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Shelter KC directors are also hopeful for donations of hats and sunscreen, since people on the streets are desperate to avoid sunburn and heatstroke.