How you can help
The ongoing heat wave can be life-threatening for folks living outside. By equipping ourselves with knowledge, resources, and direct care, Austinites can help provide relief to our neighbors who need it most.
If you’re experiencing homelessness and want to apply for housing or find other resources, visit our Get Help page.
The Scorching Reality: Texas is known for its blazing temperatures and during summer, the heat becomes an unrelenting force. For individuals experiencing homelessness, the effects can be devastating. Spending all day and sleeping outside without proper protection or access to cooling resources places people at an alarmingly high risk of heat-related illnesses, like dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and even death. The impact is intensified by factors such as age, pre-existing medical conditions, lack of access to substantial shade and reliable transportation.
The best solution to heat-related danger is a permanent place to live. Tell your elected leaders you support housing and services to keep people housed and cool long-term. Here are some ways you can provide people experiencing homelessness immediate relief during extreme heat:
Cooling center information
CapMetro is offering free bus rides to cooling centers. Simply tell the driver when you get on the bus that you’re headed to a cooling center and you won’t be charged the fare. (Details)
City of Austin
- All City of Austin park and library facilities are operating as cooling centers during normal business hours.
- Locations, addresses, and contact information
- Travis County community center facilities are operating as places to cool off, fill water bottles, and use restroom facilities.
Supplies to give out
Keeping a few critical supplies in your car or bag can make an immediate difference in someone’s day. In addition to cash, gift cards, socks, food, and water, here are some ideas to help unhoused folks stay safe in the heat:
Frozen water bottles + electrolytes
Hydration is crucial for survival. Throw a few water bottles in your freezer before bed. Pack up a bag or small cooler with them the next morning, and give them out on your commute or lunch break.
Reusable water bottles are also a great item to give out. You can get a couple inexpensive bottles and keep them in the fridge overnight to provide cold water the next day and a reusable resource. By providing water and electrolyte pouches, you can help quench their thirst and prevent dehydration.
Sun protection is paramount. By providing sunscreen and educating individuals on its importance, you help shield them from the harmful effects of prolonged sun exposure.
Cooling center and safety info
Check in with people to make sure they know of available cooling centers. You can use the map and other resources on this page to help folks navigate for free to one of the indoor spaces around Austin and Travis County.
Signs of heat-related illness
In case of a heat stroke or heat exhaustion, take immediate action to ensure the well-being and safety of a person experiencing homelessness.
Heat crampsSigns: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.
Heat exhaustionSigns: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting.Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
Heat strokeSigns: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness.Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.
Get emergency alerts and information