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The Summer Heat: A Reflection on its Impact on our Unhoused Veterans



As the Operations Manager for Missouri Veterans Endeavor (MOVE), I am acutely aware of our Veterans’ challenges throughout the year. However, the summer months bring a unique set of difficulties that can profoundly impact our unhoused Veterans.


Summer’s sweltering heat can be more than just uncomfortable—it can be life-threatening. Many of our unhoused Veterans struggle to find adequate shelter, hydration, and relief from the relentless sun. The risks of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heatstroke are very real and can exacerbate existing health issues.


At MOVE, we are dedicated to providing long-term supportive housing for Veterans and their families experiencing homelessness. Yet, the need far exceeds our current capacity, and many Veterans still need to be aware of the risks associated with the extreme elements. This is why our work and the support we receive from the community are more critical than ever.


Understanding the Impact

The summer heat affects unhoused Veterans in several ways:

  • Health Risks: Extended exposure to high temperatures can lead to serious health complications. Veterans with pre-existing conditions are particularly vulnerable.

  • Limited Access to Resources: Finding consistent access to cool, shaded areas and water can be challenging. Many public spaces that provide relief are often overcrowded or inaccessible.

  • Mental Health Strain: The stress of dealing with extreme weather conditions can take a toll on mental health, exacerbating feelings of helplessness and anxiety.


What MOVE is Doing

Our team is committed to addressing these challenges head-on. Here’s how:

  • Outreach Programs: We conduct regular outreach to distribute water, sunscreen, other essential items, and information on staying cool.

  • Emergency Shelter Coordination: We work with local shelters to ensure Veterans know where to find refuge during extreme heatwaves.

  • Community Partnerships: Collaborating with community organizations expands our reach and provides more comprehensive support to those in need.


How You Can Help

We cannot do this alone. Your support is vital in helping us extend our services and protect our unhoused Veterans from the summer heat. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Donate: Contributions help us supply water, cooling gear, sunscreen, lip balm, and other essential resources to Veterans in need. Hold a sunscreen collection drive.

  • Volunteer: Join our outreach efforts to distribute supplies and provide support to those on the streets.

  • Advocate: Raise awareness about the plight of unhoused Veterans and the impact of extreme heat. Share information with your network and encourage others to support our cause.


As we navigate the hot summer months, let’s remember the sacrifices our Veterans have made and come together to ensure their safety and well-being. Every small act of kindness and support makes a significant difference in the lives of those who have served our country.


Thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to our mission. Together, we can provide relief and hope to our unhoused Veterans this summer and beyond.


Stay cool and compassionate,

Dawn Davis-Stellwag


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