Big Issue Foundation

How you can help the homeless this summer

Hot weather can be more problematic for a rough sleeper than the cold. Here is a quick guide to how you can help.

In winter we become very aware of the issues that the homeless community face in extreme conditions however in summer conditions can be just as challenging. Hot weather can be more problematic for a rough sleeper than the cold.

Being unable to escape the heat can lead to sunburn, dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into heatstroke it needs to be treated as an emergency.

The signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

There are some simple ways you can help to prevent rough sleepers experiencing these issues:

Help Keep Hydrated

Offer cold drinks to hydrate and keep cool. If they have a pet, consider providing an extra bottle of water or some wet pet food to help them stay hydrated. Reusable water bottles can be filled up for free in some cafés and water points.

Help Find Shade

Offer an umbrella or a hat to create shade from the direct sunlight which can help prevent heat exhaustion and sunburn. You can find a directory of day centres that will provide shelter during the day on The Pavement website here.

Help Prevent Sunburn

When sleeping rough, sun cream can seem like an expensive luxury item. If you are able to offer sun cream, maybe you have some left over after a holiday, consider offering it to those who can not escape the sun.

If you are concerned for someone’s welfare that is sleeping rough, please contact StreetLink either via the app, their website or by calling 0800 500 0914.

If you see a rough sleeper who requires urgent medical care, call 999.

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