Jun 18, 2018

When You Can’t Find Shelter From the Heat

by
Paul Chakalian
,
Slate
Desmont Smith sits in the shade of his shopping cart drinking water in Phoenix. Credit: Ann Johansson, Corbis via Getty Images
Desmont Smith sits in the shade of his shopping cart drinking water in Phoenix. Credit: Ann Johansson, Corbis via Getty Images

Last year was the third hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. We’ll probably see more of that, thanks to our warming climate: According to the most recent National Climate Assessment we’re on track to see average temperatures rise another 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit across the United Sates by the end of this century.

2017 also marked the first time that the United States has seen an increase in homelessness in almost a decade, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness rose by 9 percent between 2016 and 2017. More than 180,000 Americans were living exposed to the elements on any single night that year.

Extreme heat is already the leading cause of weather-related death in the United States. If the number of homeless people continues to increase alongside temperatures, it will be a recipe for serious health consequences.