Heatwave forces homeless to seek shelter early this summer

Heatwave forces homeless to seek shelter early this summer

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By JAMIE LYNN DROHAN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The current heatwave is forcing the homeless population in Knoxville to seek help at shelters earlier than usual this year.

Groups helping the homeless at shelters were caught off guard by the intense heat.

Every day in the six day forecast is predicted to go over 90 degrees. Tuesday is the sixth day in a row it's reached 90 degrees or hotter. Eleven of the last 12 days have been in this temperature range.

"It's hot. Seek shelter and drink plenty of water," said Bruce Spangler, with Volunteer Ministry Center.

Although summer just started, shelters are already seeing an influx of people seeking refuge from the heat.

Volunteer Ministry Center has already put out the white flag, a symbol that shelter and water is available to everyone. Spangler says it's very unusual for them to put it out in June.

"Well, we probably expect about 100 or so people to come through our doors to get in out of the heat. I think the other advantage we have on this campus for folks that are experiencing dehydration, we do have a clinic run by Cherokee Health Systems so they can have immediate medical attention if necessary," Spangler said.

Burt Rosen, of Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries, says due to the soaring temperatures, KARM aims to keep its doors open all day, every day.

"Our Crossroads Welcome Center provides a nice, air conditioned place where people can come. There's access to restrooms and more importantly, it's a break from the sun and the heat and of course what we want to do is make sure that people are staying hydrated," Rosen said.

To keep up with the demand, KARM is asking for donations of bottled water to help serve the 400 plus people who depend on the organization.

KARM and Volunteer Ministry Center are also asking for donations to help cut costs for air conditioning bills.

To donate to KARM, click here.

To donate to Volunteer Ministry Center, click here.

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