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Heat Relief For The Homeless

June 19, 2012, 5:00 PM by Peggy Moyer

Heat Relief For The Homeless

When temperatures reach into the 90s, most of us turn to our air conditioners to keep cool. But not everyone can do that.  There are a few groups in Sioux Falls that provide relief from the heat to the city’s homeless population.

90 degree -plus- days take their toll on everyone. Many people spend as little time in direct sunlight as possible when the mercury rises this high. However, if you're homeless like 56-year-old Kibble of Sioux Falls, your options are limited.

"Cool. Move around and go sit some place where it's cool and sit down there," Kibble said.

On average, 125 people come through the doors of the Good Shepherd Center in downtown Sioux Falls each day. When the weather turns hot, Executive Director Maria Krell says more men tend to come in to cool down.

"When the hot weather comes in, we notice the women and children numbers kind of tend to go down because the women try to keep the kids indoors more," Krell said.

Krell believes men are more likely to camp outside overnight and need a place to cool off.  When we stopped by, there was just one towel left in the closet and it wasn't even noon.  Krell says the supply of clean towels usually lasts all day.

The St. Francis House provides sack lunches for anyone needing a meal. A recent donation allows the house to hand out a bottle of water with lunches on such hot days.

"I think it's worse in the summer because in the winter you can layer as much as you need to stay warm, but in the summer, you can't do anything to cool off.  You can only take off so many clothing items," Krell said.

The Union Gospel Mission is another place where people can go.  It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone needing to get out of the elements.

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