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As I'm sure you've noticed, it is the second week of June and we are experiencing extraordinary levels of heat. Our hundreds of homeless people have limited access to water - even more limited this year than last since only 130 can enter St. Francis House and avail themselves of lunch time beverages. I always keep bottled water in the Home Van frig but no one is coming by, because it is just too much to walk through this level of heat. This is a life-threatening situation for our homeless friends.
Here is what we need to do as a community - bring cases of wataer, and even styrofoam coolers of ice, out to homeless areas, and carry bottled water in our cars to give to homeless people we may see as we drive around town. I often hear from people that they are aware of homeless people living near them. You can leave a case of water just past the tree line in such an area and they will find it. If you aren't sure where they are, and you see a Publix-type bag tied to a tree, that's a clue. Homeless folks sometimes mark their entrances to the woods in this way, since finding the entrance can be hard after dark. The Williston Road camp is off a fire trail just before you get to the intersection of Williston Road and SE 16th Street. Other folks are camped along the rails-to-trails bike path within view of the downtown bus terminal (with the permission of the landowner there). There are homeless people behind Winn-Dixie on SW 13th street, and in wooded areas around North Main and 39th Avenue. in wooded areas near the I-75 overpass, off Hawthorne Road, and many other areas.
You can also leave cases of water to Home Van central (307 SE 6th Street - 372-4825). Last week on our driveouts people were asking us for extra water - and we gave out all we had. I like to leave some water by the side of the house in case people come by when we aren't home. The need is almost unlimited. The best deal on water is at Sam's Club. Big Lots on north main often has good deals on water also.
It is going to be a long summer and we need to work together or our homeless friends will be dealing wilth dehydration and heat stroke.
Please email the City Commission and the City Manager and ask them to designate a water truck to bring water to homeless areas. Their email addresses are above in the CC line. Cities across the United States bring water trucks to homeless areas and there is no reason our city can't do this also. We can have a drive to supply homeless folks wilth empty gallon jugs.
The extreme heat, the closing of AGH, and the meal limit at St. Francis House has created an unprecedented emergency in this situation, so let's all pull together.
Love and blessings to you all,