Volunteers helping the homeless beat the heat

With the sun beating down and the pavement sizzling, outside there are not any fans or air conditioning to help Portl...

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 12:10 AM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 12:10 AM

With the sun beating down and the pavement sizzling, outside there are not any fans or air conditioning to help Portland's homeless cool off during intense temperatures – and the tents only intensify the heat.

"It's kind of miserable," said Trran Cooper, standing outside his tent Sunday evening. "As soon as it gets 95 (degrees) or higher, there's definitely a threshold there where it gets unbearable all of a sudden."

Cooper has lived in his outdoor setup of tents and tarps for a year-and-a-half – staying outside all through winter as well. Summer, he said, is tougher.

"In the winter you can wrap up in blankets. It's a lot easier to get warm than it is to cool off," Cooper said.

Out on the streets, just having some shade and enough water is a luxury.

Luckily, Patrick Johnson has both at his camp. He walks to nearby fountains twice a day to fill up his canteen at a bubbler fountain.

"This is actually refrigerator line," Cooper said, holding up a thin tube. "With the constant bubblers, you just walk up, slide it in."

It's the resourcefulness to survive, but some help goes a long way.

FOX 12 tagged along with Union Gospel Mission's search and rescue team, as volunteers and staff members made rounds to several homeless camps to check on folks, hand out ice-cold water, meals and other supplies.

"Dehydration is very serious, it's dangerous," said team member Joseph Larsen. "If it's 90 degrees or above we hand cool bottles of water to keep them hydrated."

Some nights, the team will hand out up to 200 bottles of water.

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