TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Homeless people often face a life-or-death struggle to stay warm in the winter, but being able to escape the heat in the summer is just as important.
Here in Toledo, there is a solution: St. Paul’s Community Center and Cherry Street Mission Ministries provide people with a place to cool off during the day.
“We allow people in, even if they are not customers, they can come in and rest from the heat. We always have snacks, hot and nutritious meals, our showers are open to the public, as well as toilets, and now that it’s hot, we always have ice cold water available to them,” said Joe Habib, director of St. Paul’s. .
It’s more or less the same a few blocks from Cherry Street Mission Ministries.
“We see a lot of homeless people coming in to get out of the heat, out of the elements,” said Kelly Schroder, marketing manager for Cherry Street. “It’s cool in there, and we can offer them water. We are a cooling station for those in need.
Compared to the same time last year, Schroder said he saw an 84% increase in homelessness.
“I’m sure a lot of that is down to the economy, the heat. A lot of people just come to Cherry Street Mission Ministries to get out of the elements, out of the sun,” Schroder said.
Even though the shelters don’t have an open bed, both places say people are welcome to come get food and spend the day in the air conditioning.
“Homeless people experience it 365 days a year, so we have cold days and hot days,” Habib said. “As far as we are concerned, we are the safety net of the community, whether it is cold or hot.”
And Habib said providing a place where people can escape the heat is a community necessity.
“It’s important for us because it’s hot. At least at night it is a little cooler, a little better. But during the day, I can’t work in my yard for two minutes before I have to come in and drink a glass of water. People are people, they live the same thing. They are welcome here,” Habib said.
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