Summer on the Streets

September 28, 2015

Hot weather is dangerous for someone on the steets. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke, even death.

Joe had been homeless in Tacoma for 2 years before entering the Mission’s New Life Program. Just a few weeks ago, he was going between shelter stays and camping on the streets.

Ask him about his experience, and Joe will speak to the primary struggles of life on the street: safety, supplies, and sleep. But in the summer, he says,

“Water is the key. People don’t realize they’re getting dehydrated… Then all of a sudden you drop from heat exhaustion. It’s the summer’s equivalent to hypothermia.”

When you have no home, no resources… water is hard to find.

After some time in the area, Joe came to learn of a handful of places to find a drink on a hot summer’s day. (See map of his route.)

But without a car, or bus fare, he was left to walk. In the heat of summer, this means he got more and more dehydrated as he made his trek to water.

“When it’s hot – there’s no relief. Think about the most exhausted you’ve ever been, and imagine no end to it. I would carry 150 lbs of gear uphill every day.”

While a drinking fountain offers some relief, you can’t stay long. Anti-loitering laws keep you moving.

Your best bet is to fill a water bottle. But first you have to find one.

“If you need a bottle, you’re picking it off the streets. People will pick one half full out of the trash and drink it. I saw one guy drink water out of a puddle before.”

Thanks to you, Joe found a fresh start at the Mission. But there are many men and women who are still suffering on the streets.

A meal, glass of water and relief from the sun can change a life – and it only costs $2.02.

Joe shares how easy it is for those on the streets to lose hope, “They’re lost. It gets to the point where they feel nobody cares, so why should they?”

Let someone in need know that you care by giving a gift today. Thank you.