Victoria’s homeless population at great risk amid heat wave

Victoria's homeless population at great risk amid heat wave
WatchAnother big population in Victoria that is most at-risk during this heat wave is our homeless population. As Hannah Lepine reports, shelters in the area are stepping up to ensure those stuck outside are getting the resources they need to stay cool.

It’s been a few grueling days in this scorching weather for one of our most vulnerable populations, those without homes.

“When this heat hits it makes them a lot more vulnerable. Some may not have the mental or physical ability to get themselves up and out of the heat,” says Patricia Mamic, the public and government affairs director with the Salvation Army.

Some of the shelters in Victoria say they are doing everything they can to help those on the street.

“We’re making sure we have lots of water, cool towels, and sunscreen,” says Grant McKenzie, director of communications with Our Place Society.

Signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include extreme thirst, dizziness, faintness, nausea, confusion, sweating, and headache.

If it goes untreated, these symptoms could become deadly.

“Drink electrolytes, get some freezies, and just stay in the shade cause he is really hot,” says Matt Dubsy-O’Connor, a Shelter Support Worker at Victoria’s Cool Aid Society.

“If people are feeling kind of tired, heat stroke, sun stroke, go inside and chill,” added Dubsy-O’Connor.

Some challenges shelters are facing have to do with COVID-19 protocols, as they are limiting the number of people they can help at a time.

“Due to COVID we can only have five people at a time. They can come inside, sit down, have a cool glass of water. We have cold bottles they can take with them as well,” says Mamic.

If you see someone struggling in the heat that is showing severe signs including, seizures or unconsciousness, you are asked to call 911.

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Hannah LepineHannah Lepine

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