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Extreme temperatures leave some without relief - KOAM TV 7

Extreme temperatures leave some without relief

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Extreme temperatures leave some without relief.

For the homeless in the Four States, hotter weather brings a greater struggle to survive.

"It's hard for all of us," said Derrick Koon, homeless.

Koon is just one of the homeless people riding out the summer at Spiva Memorial Park in Joplin.

"This is one of the best parks for us to hang out because of the fact that there is a fountain here," Koon said.  "If you need to get your hat or hair wet to stay cool, you've got the fountain right here."

He says the shade also provides some relief from the tough temperatures.

"It just kind of makes you extremely tired," Koon said.  "Occasionally, you might come by this park and see people lying out on the grass because it's just so hot, and the heat just kind of makes everyone tired."

Koon says the park also provides easy access to many of the shelters in Joplin, such as Souls Harbor.

"It's just the easiest place for us to come because it's right downtown on Main Street," he said.

Staff members at Souls Harbor say the extreme heat not only takes a toll on the people they serve, but on the organization itself.

"In any extreme, either hot or cold, there's an increased everything that's involved," said Georgia Jones, Executive Director, Souls Harbor.

Jones says this includes increased utilities, higher need for water and an increased number of people in need of assistance.

"We also need to think about the different types of foods that people can tolerate eating in the hot weather," she said.  "Lighter foods, cooler foods are more necessary."

Jones says there are also more health problems.

"When the body gets overheated, it ceases to function," she said.  "Dehydration is a big problem in this kind of heat, and the older the person gets, the more increased those problems can become."

And many of the homeless are working to avoid just that, hoping for cooler days ahead.

"I really look forward to Fall," Koon said.

Souls Harbor provides a television room for people to stop by and cool down on critical days.

Salvation Army in Joplin also has a cooling station open until 5 p.m. and doors at the Carthage Crisis Center are open until 9 p.m.
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