Richmond organizations helping homeless through dangerous heat
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s a new push to calculate how many people are living on the streets in the metro-Richmond area. On this very hot week, it’s also revealing how dangerous it can be for those who don’t have a home, in the heat all day long, and with very little resources.
“This is something that’s really critical during the summer months as well because we’ve seen issues such as dehydration, heat-related issues, that sort of thing,” said Taylor Garrett, Daily Planet case management and outreach services director.
Outreach teams from Daily Planet Health Services are equipped with coolers, icepacks and cold water as they go out and check on the homeless. These types of counts and surveying happen twice a year to get a sense not only of numbers, but also what services are needed.
“Our outreach teams especially go out to the community and one of the things we’ve made sure we’ve done this week is have cold water, because that’s often a request that we get during these really hot times,” said Garrett.
A January count showed about 700 homeless in the area. That’s down from 2021, but still 30% higher than before the pandemic.
A lot of these concerns would be eased with a permanent shelter, says Richmond City Councilor Stephanie Lynch.
“I, like many, are extremely concerned that we do not have, at this moment, we do not have an inclement weather shelter,” said Lynch.
Richmond City Hall has set aside about $3 million to find a partner to provide and run the shelter. The official ask for proposals will go out next week. Lynch says the hope is to have a site ready to open Nov. 1.
“I’ve seen us pull off some pretty impressive feats and I hope that we can get there this year,” said Lynch.
Lynch says the city is relying on a third-party partner to set up and take over this project. Meanwhile, the updated homeless counts should be available next month.
To donate to help the homeless, you can find that information here.
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