Shelters encourage East Texas homeless to come in during heat

Shelters encourage East Texas homeless to come in during heat

LONGVIEW, TEXAS (KLTV) - Blistering 100-degree temperatures and a stifling heat index have East Texas shelters desperately urging the homeless to come in from the heat.

Shelters like the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission are doing their best to convince the homeless to come in for their own safety.

The scorching 100-degree temperatures have more people coming into the mission every day with many sleeping on the floors.

“We’ve added over 15 people this week alone. We always implement our extreme weather policy at this time," Hiway 80 Rescue Mission Director Rusty Fennell says. “Any time there’s heat like this, heat advisories, we’re going to make sure people come in.”

Mission workers are actively going out and trying to get those who choose to stay outside to come in for their own safety.

"We see somebody, we're going to stop and encourage them to come in. It's just important to make sure people stay safe in this weather," Fennell says.

But some like Sean Scott, who is homeless, say they've done it before and know what to do to survive outside.

“Yeah, I’m staying hydrated, keeping my T-shirt wet, keeping my head wet. Catching the breeze, so that cools you down enough where I’m comfortable. Make sure I drink a lot of water,” he says.

At the wooded areas around Longview, some homeless have set up makeshift camps.

"Some people just do not want to come into shelter," says Fennell.

But the heat danger is very real, and the mission hopes it won't take a tragedy to change minds.

"It doesn't take long in this heat to get your body temperature way up, and suddenly start having health issues because of that," Rusty says.

The shelter is getting some help from law enforcement, who are encouraging the homeless to get inside.

Donations of bottled water are urgently needed at this time.

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