Homeless Battle Heat Through Help From Homeless Shelters

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It's been almost unbearably hot recently, prompting many homeless people to search of places to keep cool, and homeless shelters throughout the tri-cities are offering their help.

"The heat is awful. I hate it," said Sasha Allred, who is homeless.

Forecasts aren't showing much improvement either, so for those in the homeless community, that means looking for a place to cool down.

"It's hot. You never have a place to sleep, wondering where your food is going to come from. It's difficult," said Annette Robinson, who is homeless.

Some shelters in the tri-cities say they've got space to fill, giving people the opportunity to stay for as long as they need to.

"If we can help them for a long period of time, that's what we desire to do," said executive director of Crossroads Center Rescue Mission in Hastings and Kearney Jerry Bumgardner. "We really like to encourage them to feel comfortable and really search through maybe why they're homeless, what they're needs are."

For other places, that's not exactly the case. Hope Harbor in Grand Island and Crossroads in Kearney are full with wait-lists.

However, Hope Harbor has emergency shelter rooms available, which give people a safe place to sleep for the night. Soon, check in times will be changing to accommodate the need for safety from the heat.

"We were finding that, really quite frankly, we'd have people who were waiting to get in much earlier than that. An especially with the excessive heat, there's just a need for them to be off the streets. So we as a staff met and decided to change the hours to check in at seven o'clock instead of 9:15," said Hope Harbor development coordinator Liz Mayfield.

These open doors are a sign of relief, saving them from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

"It's nice to know that I have a safe place that they can call home and I can," said Robinson.

"I really enjoy being here. It's much better than being out like in the park across the street or under a bridge or on a corner holding a sign," said Allred.

If shelters are full, or in the case at Hope Harbor not yet open, many shelters recommend people go elsewhere to churches, libraries or other public places to cool down.