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Housing and Homelessness

LA’s Unhoused Are Particularly Vulnerable During Heat Waves

Homelessness Stock Homeless Man
A homelessman sleeps on a bus bench on a hot day in Downtown Los Angeles.
(Chava Sanchez/ LAist)
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We're partway through the first heatwave of June.

The high temperatures may be uncomfortable for some, but they can mean danger for L.A.'s unhoused population, many of whom live outside without any access to air conditioning, shade or water.

Mayra Lozano, a representative from Water Drop L.A., said that volunteers are focused on getting cold water and ice out to the homeless who otherwise have little protection from heat-related illness.

“This is a population that is already very vulnerable,” she said. “Heatwaves like the one that L.A. is going through this week can be detrimental to somebody's health.”

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Lozano, whose organization distributes thousands of gallons of water to residents on Skid Row every week, recalls having to help some unhoused people find medical attention last summer during a similar heat wave.

She adds that anybody can help, by freezing some water bottles at home and passing them out to people nearby.