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Homeless shelter prepares for approaching triple-digit weather

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Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 10:24:14-04

MAGIC VALLEY — When temperatures hit record highs, most people stay indoors to take advantage of their cooling system. But for the homeless population, that's not an option.

With approaching triple-digit temperatures, Valley House Homeless Shelter is preparing to provide resources to those who need them to survive the heat.

“It does come down to making sure that people have whatever they need that’s appropriate. If it’s winter, it’s a sleeping bag. If it’s summer, they can have sunscreen," said Kim Spiers, assistant director of Valley House Homeless Shelter.

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Apart from sunscreen, the shelter has been providing people with hats that were donated, bandanas, and frozen water bottles.

They say the most important thing for people who are homeless to survive the heat is hydration.

“We also have a lot of empty reusable water bottles that we hand out. If someone has come in here, we fill them up for them with water. And, having the ability to have some type of cover, whether it's a hat, if someone needs help with summer clothing, we can help them with that also," Spiers said.

Preparing to provide resources to people in 105-degree weather is also different than preparing to provide resources in 80-degree weather.

“It puts our mindset into what we should have on hand. You know, should we have frozen water bottles for instance to hand out and to make sure that we do have the types of food that people need that we can heat here to give them like a sandwich," Spiers said.

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The shelter is currently full and only has space for single women, something they say is normal around this time of year.

Related: Magic Valley residents find a stable home in Valley House as homeless population grows

But the amount of phone calls they have received from people, mostly men and families, seeking shelter has increased. The reason behind this is unclear.

They say within the past month they have had to reject an estimated 100 people because of the lack of space.

“People call in daily. We had one woman that emailed for months trying to get her family in. So we remain full but we don’t know if the influx is from the heat and summertime or if it's just from housing insecurities nationwide, to be honest," Spiers said.

Although the shelter is only accepting single women right now, they are still providing water bottles, snacks, and other resources to those who need them to survive the heat.

If you or someone you know needs resources to out beat the heat, you can visit their website.