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Out Of The Heat

I am rarely one to complain about the heat, because I absolutely HATE being cold. I mean come winter I am layered in at least three things at all times trying to get hot. That being said, I have found this summer to be particularly HOT and to be honest… long. Maybe that’s because I currently don’t have a/c in my car, my office gets really stuffy and our bedroom has the full brunt of the sun bearing down on it all day making it difficult to cool down at night, even with central air.

Listen to me complaining.

Do you ever wonder what those with nowhere to go do on an insanely hot day? I know a lot of us worry and strive to take care of those in need during the long winter months, but what about those days where the temperatures are sky high, heat alerts are in effect and we are all drooping even in our air conditioned offices, cars and homes?

What happens when you don’t have shelter to hide away from the baking sun and excessive heat?

When you are shooed away from a shaded spot because businesses often want people to move along?

When you are made to feel uncomfortable, unwanted and a burden for asking for a cup of water at the Tim Hortons?

When you don’t own a hat to cover your head, sunscreen to cover your skin.

When you see a blessed water park, but don’t dare go near it for fear someone will call the police on you.

What happens then? Where do you go?

This summer Niagara has seen six excessive heat alerts (though keep in mind most of those alerts last several days or longer). This alert is sent out by the region when the humidex is forecast to rise to 40 or higher, when the humidex is forecast to rise to 38 or higher with a smog alert, and when Environment Canada has issued a humidex warning.

The region recommends that during an excessive heat alert residents should:

  • Plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day
  • Rest frequently in shaded areas
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless fluid is restricted by your physician)
  • Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car
  • Dress in cool, loose clothing and shade your head with a hat or umbrella
  • Take cool showers or baths until you feel refreshed

This is all well and good for those who have access to those options.

When these alerts are sent out, the YWCA and other shelters such as Southridge and The Salvation Army are mandated to accept anyone seeking shelter. While the YWCA can only accept women and children, we would refer men to our Men’s shelter or those shelters who accept men.

But the sad part is, that they aren’t always accessed.

Often, most of us don’t realize how the effect of a hot day can sneak up on us, never mind those suffering from chronic alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health issues. Research has shown that addictions can cause our bodies to react differently, causing an increase in dependency and cravings. Add to the fact that on a normal day you are turned away from shelter for a variety of reasons, your gut reaction becomes to stay away instead of being chased away.

This is why you often see those in need around the bus station, malls, Wal-Mart and Tim Hortons. They are some of the few places where they aren’t asked to leave as long as they are keeping to themselves. That sentence was really hard to type.

We all complain about the heat. About our a/c not working properly. About being sticky, sweaty and uncomfortable. We prepare in advance for the summer… stocking up on water and ice cream. Getting the water slides and pools ready. Thinking of the best way to keep the house cool. But so many of us don’t stop to consider how the other half are faring. We walk past the outstretched arm because we are so used to seeing it. We turn our heads to the side and maybe say thanks that we aren’t in the same position.

But maybe next year, while we are stocking up on water, we buy some extra to keep cold and hand out on those super awful days. Or offer some sunscreen or a hat. Check up on someone and say hello if you are concerned. Donate items such as water bottles, sunscreen, hats, bug spray etc. to the shelters to hand out.

We all deserve to be comfortable and safe. We all deserve to be thought of.

1 thought on “Out Of The Heat

  1. The downward spiral of poverty is “State-based” & has a direct correlation to programs that create dependency instead of offering help while at the same time teaching & working towards independence & financial freedom. As charitable people we often neglect the root cause of such issues because we believe in ourselves & societies ability to be charitable, but ask those in need if they would choose Charity or Independence & more often than not, people want to be independent & have those feelings of accomplishment associated with success(on any level) rather than feel the embarrassment of asking for help. And I believe the fault lies on the State & their programs/policies that are ineffective & only create dependency. If someone in need has skills that could be used to start a business, rather than helping them start their own business (which could employ from other people on assistance 1st-Since they helped the business start, in return, they hire people on assistance that are looking for work), but rather than that they only offer dependency. Which many times leads to depression & addictions or alcoholism which leads to bad parenting which leads to more “stunted growth” in our communities that then requires more assistance in the future. And although this is just one example & has been generalized, it doesn’t mean Charity & Assistance to those in need is wrong. Just simply that the system OUR taxes goes to is broken. (Maybe not…maybe the Elites & Policy Makers want the less fortunate to be dependent) We need a system that helps those in need while supporting them in WHICH EVER WAY SUITS THEM BEST! Not us, THEM! You can tell an entrepreneurial spirited person “that’s not how this works” as much as you want, but they will never accept 9-5 as an answer & most likely will become discouraged & stay “dependent” & on assistance much longer. Maybe later in life things occur that helps them start a business & it takes off & they end up employing 100s of people (Including people on assistance who were looking for jobs). Imagine if they had done it years earlier, there would have been less strain on the system because they would have been contributing instead of needing assistance. Always remember that this, and all, issues are complicated & there’s never a “one size fits all” solution, but the more Intellectually Honest we are, the better our chances. “The Betterment of Humanity won’t happen until humanity first becomes Intellectually Honest!”-APOC

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