Homeless Face the Heat on Delmarva - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Homeless Face the Heat on Delmarva

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- With the temperature hitting 90 degrees for the second day in a row on Tuesday, attention is turning toward the homeless. Unable to find consistent water and shelter, these people are especially vulnerable when the temperature rises.

The Christian Shelter in Salisbury has room for 60 people, and officials from this group say that the summer is the busiest season of the year.

"In the summer, you think vacation time and recreation," said Jim Barnes from the shelter. "And you think good times. But what if you're homeless? There's no vacation from that. There's no way to get away from it."

Karen Oplinger is one of the homeless people currently in the shelter. She said that she has been in and out of homelessness for nearly a year. Her battle against the heat goes beyond those of the average homeless person. She has two young daughters to take care of as well.  

"When you're by yourself, it's a little easier I think," she said. "But when you have kids, and they get hot, it's pretty much 'mom I'm hot. I want to go somewhere to get cool.' And you really can't."

Her daughter, Megan, said that it is hard dealing with the heat without a home. But she said that she is able to do it one day at a time.

"Yesterday, I poured a whole cup of extra large ice on me," she said. "And we were playing water games and stuff at the park."

At the same shelter, Alan Kitchens sat on a rocking chair on the front porch on Tuesday. He said that he spent eight homeless months living in his car in the parking lot of a Walmart. He said he was forced to deal with the cold and the heat while living in this area.

"During the day, you sweat," he said. "During the night, it's cool. You roll down the back windows a little bit. Because I didn't know what to do with myself."

The shelter estimates that there are more than 1,000 homeless people on the Lower Shore, who are dealing with the same issues as Oplinger and Kitchens. However, with limited space in shelters like the Christian Shelter, many will be stuck in the heat.

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