City Rescue Mission Helping the Homeless Beat the Heat


Reported by Elizabeth Campbell, 7/9/2015.

City Rescue Mission helping homeless beat heat

City Rescue Mission says heat can be deadly for homeless

Published On: Jul 09 2015 06:47:37 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 09 2015 09:05:49 AM EDT


We hear it all the time, drink water and stay out of the sun to avoid overheating.  But it’s easier said than done for many of the homeless people living in our city.  When the temperatures skyrocket into the 90’s, many of us head inside to beat the heat.  Though, Jacksonville’s homeless, don’t have that option.

The City Rescue Mission, downtown, is working to help.  It fires up its cooling center when the thermometer hits 95-degrees.

Anthony Marlow was homeless.  He says drugs put him on the street.  He says he knew he needed help.

“I heard about the program about the city rescue mission and that’s what brought me to Jacksonville, Florida,” said Marlow.

But Marlow won’t be homeless for much longer.  On August 1, he’s going to be moving into his own apartment.

Things are looking up for Marlow, but it hasn’t been easy.  He says living on the streets and surviving Florida’s heat was one of the hardest parts of homelessness.

“I can deal with the cold a lot better than I can the heat, when I was out there, because I can always put on more clothes but you can’t take off enough,” Marlow said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1999 to 2010, a total of 7,415 deaths in the United States, were associated with exposure to excessive natural heat.  That’s an average of 618 deaths per year.

Jamie Davis works with the City Rescue Mission.  She says the cooling center is available to any and every one.

“That’s it.  They just show up and it’s just to keep people out of the heat.  Sometimes it seems simple but it can be the difference between life and death.  We’re all about saving lives,” Davis says.

And Marlow is thanking God for the help he’s received in Jacksonville.

“I didn’t have a soul or a heart; and now it’s amazing how God is in my life and it’s all because of City Rescue Mission, Marlow says.

The cooling center is open by City Rescue Mission every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., when the temperature is expected to be above 95-degrees.  The same center is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday by Jacksonville Day Resource Center and Shelter.  Check-in begins at 2:30 in the afternoon.  Some people are able to transition from the cooling center to the shelter.

Other than a cool comfortable room with AC they also have access to these water fountains giving them a supply to water to keep them healthy and hydrated throughout the summer months.

Anthony Marlow says he became homeless five years ago.

“I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, and drugs put me on the street that was one of the things that put me out there.  I was homeless in Atlanta for over a year then I heard about the program, about the City Rescue Mission and that’s what brought me to Jacksonville, Florida,” Marlow says.

Marlow says he arrived in Jacksonville September 13, 2013.  He says, “I came with nothing but the shoes and shirt on my back.  The past two years I went through the program, I have a ready-to-work certificate.  I’m in the work program, the transition program and graduate in September.”

Marlow says he’s been working maintenance at the apartment complex he’s about to move into, for 42 years.

Marlow says it all started when someone confronted him on McDuff Ave.  He says the man needed someone to do yard work.  After two says, he says, the man told him he worked hard, and wanted to hire him to do maintenance at an apartment complex.

He’s since been able to buy his own truck.  He says he’s had it for four weeks.

“You know I, I get on my knees every night and thank God.  It’s amazing how two years ago, I had nothing.  I didn’t have a soul or a heart, and now it’s amazing how God is in my life, and it’s all because of City Rescue Mission,” Marlow says.

Davis says the summer heat can result in death, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and a number of different issues for the homeless.

“We wanted to prepare a place for the homeless to be able to come, to offer cool air as well as water, and a source of rest during the daytime,” Davis says.  “Our check in for homeless check in is every day at 2:30 p.m., so they can transition from the cooling center to the homeless center at 2:30, so that would have kept them out of the heat during the hottest parts of the day.”

“City rescue saw Tuesdays and Thursdays, there was nothing being offered in the way of a day shelter.  So we decided this would be a good idea to staff this area for the sake of keeping the homeless out of the heat on those days as well, Davis says.


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