How the homeless population is staying cool in extreme heat

When blistering hot temperatures reach Fort Wayne, homeless men like Richard Hayes seek shelter anywhere they can.

Posted: Jul. 1, 2018 7:38 PM
Updated: Jul. 1, 2018 10:41 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- When blistering hot temperatures reach Fort Wayne, homeless men like Richard Hayes seek shelter anywhere they can.

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"Businesses, restaurants, things of that natures, but what happens is a lot of people don't want to see the homeless," Hayes said.

Hayes said the extreme temperatures are just one problem he's endured over the last 15 years of being homeless.

"I was pretty broken, didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, didn't even know if I could go on," he said.

Donovan Coley, Rescue Mission president and CEO, said the mission acts as a cooling center and a safe haven for anyone in need when temperatures feel higher than 80 degrees, providing water and food to those passing through, and a cot for those who decide to stay.

"If it's just a cup of cold water or a sandwich, whatever it is they need. If they need dry, clean clothes, we also provide that, especially during the sweltering heat," Coley said.

Coley said several people pass through on days like today just to grab water. It's something Hayes, and other residents, said can be hard to come by while living on the streets.

"Thank God for places like the mission where you can just come and cool down a little bit, get a cup of water," Hayes said.

Coley said the door will be open all year round, whether you're battling addiction, feeling hopeless, or escaping the elements. 

"It doesn't matter what's happening outside of our community, the Rescue Mission stands ready to take care of the needs of those who are most vulnerable in our community," Coley said.

The mission is currently in need of bottled water. Donations can be brought to the mission every day from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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