Extreme heat prompts Nampa homeless shelter to extend access hours

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 12:46:36-04

Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can result in a fatal heat stroke. In an effort to help prevent this in the homeless community, one Nampa shelter is lifting their normal restrictions.

"This weather is not fun for anybody," said Briana LeClaire, Director of Women and Children's Ministries. "But it's especially not fun if you're homeless, and you're stressed out, and you have so many things to worry about."

The emergency night-by-night sanctuary for homeless and victims of domestic abuse is opening their doors to guests during warm daytime hours.

"We hope that we can just provide a little bit of relief, a little bit of respite for women and kids," she said.

The Valley Women and Children's Shelter provides an environment that is safe, air conditioned, has an ice machine, and offers guests daily meals.

One frequent guest at the shelter says she has full-time access. "For me, I make the lunches. So I get to come in anyway," said Barbara Handelson.

She sees to it that every guest stays hydrated by handing out waters: "[Waters] that are cold when they go out... instead of sodas and other things."

And she says it's a "win-win."

"I feel... like I have a purpose," Handelson said. "It gives me something to do. It helps other people-- and it gives me a purpose."

A purpose that LeClaire hopes can be sustained by donations. "The Boise Rescue Mission has been in existence for 60 years, and with the support of the Treasure Valley, we hope to go at least another 60."