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Local shelters help those experiencing homelessness tackle extreme heat

Helping those experiencing homelessness tackle extreme heat
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Posted at 11:05 PM, Jun 17, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS —Scorching temps will be here throughout the week and as many of us find ways to stay out of the heat, WRTV’s Amber Grigley explains why some may find those measures a bit challenging.

"I made a post this morning and my post said, make sure you hydrate, you bring plenty of water, bring some sunscreen,” Taffianie King, Founder of Bike N Boot Camp said.

For the second summer in a row, Bike n Boot Camp has been King's Monday evening fix. A weekly workout King says will happen come rain or shine.

"I particularly like it hot. I do. I do like it hot. Today, it's a little more hot than I prefer, but duty calls," King said.

The extreme temperature brought out just three bikers.

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Amber asked biker Naima Fields what she had to tell herself to join the weekly bike ride in this heat.

“No excuses. Think cool. So, I think cool and just breathe and I’ll get through it,” Fields said.

A simple choice made by King and Fields to be outside in the heat, is the only option for some experiencing homelessness.

"That stack of water over there will probably just get us through one day. So, I'd imagine we'll be completely out of water by Thursday."

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Courtney Kay Meyers with Horizon House said when the temperature hits extreme levels, they have to make some immediate adjustments.

"When the actual temperature is above 94, we stay open in between shifts so that folks can stay cool all the way through. And then if the heat index is 99 or up, the same rules apply," Courtney Kay Meyers, Director of Development and Communications at Horizon House said.

Not too far from Horizon House, there's Wheeler Mission.

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"Right now, even with the hot temperatures, we've got room. We ask people, if you see somebody that needs to get inside, encourage them to come in because there's a bed at Wheeler," Brian Crispin, Sr. Director of Community Relations at Wheeler Mission said.

Crispin said on average there are 1,600 people without somewhere to stay in Indianapolis. Wheeler Mission can house up to 900 people.

With extreme weather they don't adjust much, they just want those experiencing homelessness to come and get out of the heat.

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"I see people outside clambering to get inside. I see people get in their cars and turn on the AC. Just remember that people who are experiencing homelessness don't have a place to go that's their own. They don't have a car to get in and get cool at a moment's notice. They need places to go in to get relief," Crispin said.

Both Horizon House and Wheeler Mission told Amber that during the summer people tend to forget about shelters for donations. They encourage Hoosiers to consider donating water to help better serve those in need this summer.