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Summer Heat Puts Excess Pressure on an Already Under Served Homeless Population

Look around Albuquerque and many other cities nationwide, and you will soon see people trying to beat the summer heat, at the pool, sitting under a shade tree or sipping a glass of iced tea close to the air conditioner.

But where can a homeless person escape the extreme temperatures that occur at this time of year?

One place is Albuquerque’s Joy Junction. The shelter houses as many as 300 people nightly. In addition, three full meals are served each day (That’s about 10,000 meals and as many as 6,000 additional meals on our mobile feeding unit The Lifeline of Hope).

“We offer those with nowhere else to go a place out of the sun,” said Joy Junction’s Founder and CEO Dr. Jeremy Reynalds.

“We encourage our staff to look for any signs of heat related illness among people coming in off the streets,” Reynalds said. “We hope that if people come to Joy Junction initially to escape the heat, that they will end up joining our life recovery program. That is the backbone of everything we do at Joy Junction.”

Reynalds added that, “Most people think nothing of putting a few coins in a soda machine, or stopping at the convenience store to pick up a fountain drink. But if you’re homeless and broke on Albuquerque’s streets you don’t have that luxury.”

Reynalds offered some useful suggestions for helping homeless and near homeless during the hot weather.

Don’t give monetary handouts. Money could be used to buy food or drugs that may inhibit a person’s ability to sense the harmful effects of exposure to heat and sun. Instead, consider giving bottled water and refer the person to an agency such as Joy Junction that provides food, shelter and other assistance.

Food is often in short supply at homeless shelters during this time of year, so consider a donation of canned goods.

Clean, light and loose clothing is helpful for those who have been on the streets and decide to come to Joy Junction or another shelter to clean up.

Disposable diapers are always needed at Joy Junction. They help children cope with the heat. Diapers, of course, need to be changed more often to combat heat and diaper rash.

Travel sized toiletry items are always needed and usually in short supply at Joy Junction.

To find out more about how you can help the homeless at Joy Junction and around the nation, contact Joy Junction at (505) 877-6967.

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