As we head into August, the hottest month of the year, Give Texas wants to point your attention to some nonprofits that are helping the most vulnerable population in these summer months, our homeless.
Many of us will find ourselves uncomfortable or inconvenienced by the sweltering temperatures of an Austin summer. This typically leads to afternoons by the pool and quite evenings indoors. Our homeless population however, does not have the same opportunities to escape these scorching temperatures day after day. Let’s dive deeper into why the homeless need extra assistance during the summer.
What Dangers Do Homeless Austinites Face During Summer?
- Dehydration – The risk of experiencing dehydration is increased in the summer months due to long exposure to high temperatures and inconsistent access to clean water. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council even released a statement saying that “people living on the streets or in shelters run an increased risk [compared to those not living on the streets] for experiencing dehydration, especially those living in warm climates.” Austin experiences temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during July and August every year. Those temperatures are more than warm. They’re sweltering, and unsafe for extended living.
- Difficulty Maintaining Hygiene – Our body naturally uses sweat to cool us down and regulate our overall body temperature. It is normal for everyone to experience increased sweating in the summer months. This increased sweat however, can become dangerous for those without consistent access to showers, laundry services, and a change of clothes. Wearing clothes soaked with sweat for an extended period of time leads to rashes, infections and other severe skin problems. Repeated use of damp socks can cause Trench Foot. Left untreated, gangrene can begin to set in. This may necessitate an emergency amputation.
- Exposure Illnesses – Without a way to escape the sun, many of Austin’s homeless experience daily sunburns, cramps and general heat exhaustion. These conditions can lead to chronic pain and illnesses and even death in severe cases.
How Can I Help the Homeless in Austin?
If you’re asking how you can help, you’re already on the right track. There are many homeless shelters in the Austin area that can use your donations of water, clothes and money. See below for more information on two of the nonprofits who run some of the most prominent shelters in the greater Austin area.
- Front Steps – Front Steps is in charge of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), which has served the homeless population within Austin’s Red River District since 2004. This facility provides the homeless with showers, laundry facilities and restrooms. In addition to this, they provide 120 meals and a place to sleep for 100 every day. You can learn more about ARCH and donate to their cause here. Only six percent of donations go to administration fees.
- Casa Marianella – Casa Marianella exists to help displaced immigrants living on the streets of Austin. They provide free medical and legal services to those admitted, as well as free food, clothing and English classes. This organization has four different houses under their name, and they shelter more than 300 people annually. Contribute to their cause here.
There are many more nonprofits that provide aid in the Austin area. Keep up with Give Austin to learn more about the local organizations working in Austin, Texas.