The sunshine has arrived in Cornwall this week and the forecast shows sun and high temperatures are here to stay throughout the weekend, and so we are thinking about how best to keep those experiencing homelessness safe and well in the hot weather.
St Petrocs Outreach Workers and our Resource Centres are always prepared in the summer to support people who are experiencing homelessness and who may be struggling with the unique challenges they face. Examples of some of these challenges include; lack of shelter, lack of access to supplies and resources, lack of access to running water.
During heatwaves people sleeping rough are at further risk of sunstroke, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. Homelessness, particularly rough sleeping, is dangerous all year round but in extreme hot weather and high temperatures, it can be life threatening. Deaths that can occur may be from underlying illnesses made worse by heat – primarily lung and heart diseases – or from heat specific conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Mental ill health may also worsen during hot weather.
Here’s a few things to remember, and what can be done to help;
Hydration as we all know is important, handing out small bottles of frozen water can be one idea to help cool people down initially, and then to drink. Providing a bottle and signposting people to a refill station or water fountain can help someone to keep themselves hydrated.
Sun cream / Sun hats
SPF especially can be expensive, but if you are able to purchase an extra bottle to give out this can be very beneficial. We have listed some sun cream and sunhats on our Amazon Wishlist that can be donated via purchase and will be delivered direct to our resource centres where we can distribute to those who need it.
Sun hats, or alternatively, an umbrella can be a great quick way to provide shade when there is nowhere to shelter from direct sunshine.
Refer them to StreetLink
StreetLink enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them. It can enable services to reach rough sleepers more quickly; this has positive impacts on their safety and wellbeing. Call StreetLink or visit their website, 0300 500 0914 streetlink.org.uk
Stop and say hello
Just checking in with someone, to say “hello” and see if they are ok. This way you may be able to ask them if they may need any of the help outlined above, or just have a conversation.
St Petrocs Advice Line
If you wish to speak to a member of our team for advice or guidance, please call 01872 264153
If you think the person you are concerned about is in immediate danger, seriously unwell and needs urgent medical assistance, contact emergency services on 999 straight away.