Washington, DC—July 18, 2019—As the city awaits triple-digit temperatures this weekend, Central Union Mission is expanding its services for homeless people due to their elevated risk of heat exhaustion. According to Mission President and CEO Joe Mettimano, “We’re pleased to be a service provider for DC’s hyperthermia program, and we’ll be expecting dozens of more guests this weekend. During a heat emergency we put down some extra mattresses to help more neighbors stay safe and hydrated.”
With the expected extra guests, the Mission will be sheltering nearly 200 men each night, protecting them from dehydration with nutritious food and an ample supply of water and other fluids and providing showers, clean beds and comfortable air. Central Union Mission provides a safe space not just for the night but also during the day in its two “day rooms,” hospitality not common to other shelters.
Against conventional wisdom, heat rather than cold leads to more environmentally caused deaths in the US—more than one hundred reported by the National Weather Service in 2018. The Centers for Disease Control considers this figure to be understated because heat-related deaths often present as other illnesses.
Heat is especially dangerous for people experiencing homelessness because those living on the streets are often struggling with mental illness that makes them unable to care for themselves. Substance abuse can also affect users’ body thermostats making them insensitive—but not invulnerable—to the temperature.
While the rest of DC may be on summer vacation, Central Union Mission remains a safe haven for people experiencing homelessness. Even though our funding drops dramatically during the summer, we are dedicated to serving our neighbors in need.
DC government advises that hot and humid conditions can cause medical problems such as heat exhaustion and stroke. If you or someone you know needs transportation to a cooling center—or if you see someone suffering or unconscious on the street—call the hyperthermia hotline at 202-399-7093.
About Central Union Mission:
Central Union Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the oldest private social service agency in Washington, DC. In addition to its emergency shelter, which provides almost 62,000 bed-nights each year, the Mission operates a holistic, Christ-centered transformation and workforce development program for men, provides benefits for veterans, helps people overcome addictions, operates a food and clothing distribution center which provides food for over 4000 people each month, runs a camp for underprivileged children, and offers a ministry to families and senior citizens. GuideStar has awarded Central Union Mission a Gold Seal for our financial transparency and GreatNonProfits has given Central Union Mission a Top-Rated award.
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