Chattanooga's needy struggle with heat - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga's needy struggle with heat

Posted: Updated:

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - If you think the scorching weather is bad, picture how many people are living in this heat without air conditioning or a fan. Hundreds of people in Chattanooga are dealing with that right now, but there are some efforts to help local people in need beat the heat.

Fighting these high temperatures can be downright dangerous if you're not equipped with some sort of air circulation, shelter and plenty of water, but it's a challenge that many folks in Chattanooga just don't have the means to conquer on their own.

The sun is too much for Tina Hayes so she's seeking relief at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

"It's really balmy and it's blistery and it's real nice to have a place to come to, to get in out of the heat," Tina Hayes said.

She normally lives in her car, but the heat proved to be too much for it, too.

"It overheated and it caught fire coming home from church," Hayes said.

She's one of hundreds who've come through the doors this weekend, desperate for air conditioning, some cold water and a shower. They're necessities they just can't afford.

"Oh it feels wonderful," Rachel Scheffler, who's staying at the shelter, said.

They know the dangers of being on the street all day in these temperatures.

"Chances are you could get a heat stroke, you could end up getting heat exhaustion, all of that," Scheffler said.

"Without our city having a emergency beds at night, there are probably 300 people sleeping outside on the streets so the heat is a major factor," Chattanooga Community Kitchen's Brother Ron Fender said.

It's not just the homeless needing help, the Salvation Army is helping people who aren't able to cool their homes.

"It's life threatening when you have temperatures like this. Folks need relief from it," Salvation Army spokesperson Kimberly George said.

They're giving out these donated box fans to low income families. They say it's obvious this extreme heat means a greater need this summer.

"Normally we don't hit over 300 until the end of July or beginning of August," George said.

More people are requesting help with their utility bills, but the Salvation Army's fund for that is nearly empty.

"We don't want to have to turn people away and we know that list is only going to grow," George said.

To help with the utility assistance, the Salvation Army is asking for monetary donations. The Chattanooga Community Kitchen is accepting water donations. They're handing out around 500 bottles a day.

Powered by Frankly