Homeless Struggle to Stay Cool in the Heat

3 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, July 19 2017 Jul 19, 2017 July 19, 2017 5:21 PM July 19, 2017 in News

HARLINGEN – Few experience the same level of heartache Angel Ruiz has come to know. He’s homeless, has had cancer and recently lost a relative and his best friend.

“I lost my Mom before I became homeless. I tried to give her CPR because she had a heart attack, but I couldn't bring her back,” said Ruiz. “And I miss her.”

Unlike others in the Valley, Ruiz doesn’t have a permanent home to call his own. He said finding a cool and safe place is even more difficult in the summer heat.

Ruiz spends most of his time at the Loaves and Fishes shelter and dining hall.

“This is basically the only coolest place you can come to to relax and get out of the heat,” said Ruiz.

Bill Reagan, executive director at Loaves and Fishes, told CHANNEL 5 NEWS helping the homeless stay cool is a matter of beating the long-term effects of the heat.

“When you’re outside day after day, for 10 to 12 hours at a time and it doesn’t cool off at night. That builds up," he said. 

Reagan said the homeless can eat and sleep at the shelter everyday out of the year. He said in extreme heat situations, they open the dining hall as a cooling station.

“When we have extreme weather like this, I keep the dining hall open all day during the day so they can stay if they need to,” said Reagan.

“So I just try to hang on everyday. Do what I can,” said Ruiz.

If you’re interested in helping those in need in colonias or the elderly stay cool in the summer months, you can visit H-E-B to purchase and donate a fan. The Salvation Army will personally deliver the fans to those in need.

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