Many seeking shelter from extreme heat

August 5, 2011 10:37:33 AM PDT
Houston remains in heat emergency and the city has opened cooling centers to give residents relief from dangerous temperatures. But what do those people do when the cooling centers close and the temperature is still 95 outside?

"I'm from Indiana and this heat is killin' me," said Terrill Smith, who's homeless and trying to fight the heat.

The relentless Texas heat begins early in the day. Many people head to local cooling centers and spend the entire day to avoid the dangerous heat.

"Go down to Palmer Church, have coffee and then come here and sit in here and watch the hours go by," said Glen McGowen, who uses Houston's cooling centers.

The cooling centers, including the Houston Central Library, are lifelines for those who cannot afford or do not have air conditioning in their homes. The homeless also take refuge in the library.

But what happens when the cooling centers close at 8pm and the heat is still unbearable?

"On a typical August day between 8 and 10 o'clock, we usually see temperatures between 82 to 85 degrees. In this heat wave, they've been 90 to 95 degrees," KTRK Meteorologist Travis Herzog said.

Many people return home and sit in virtual saunas, or if they are homeless, try to cope as best they can with no help of any kind.

"No wind hardly, no rain, try to drink plenty of water. I must say that the library does offer some good cold water," McGowen said.

"It's hot, you just take your shirt off and relax and you try to the do the best you can," Smith said.

Anyone who needs to get to a cooling center can find the nearest one by calling the city's 311 help line. METRO can provide transportation to the central library by calling 311; however, that library is closed on Friday and Sunday.

Below is a list of the other cooling centers around the Houston area:

  • Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery, 77091 - 713-694-9274
  • Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, 6402 Market Street, 77020 - 713-670-2143
  • Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center, 4014 Market Street, 77020 - 832-393-3800
  • Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center, 3810 West Fuqua, 77045 - 832-393-4200
  • Kashmere Multi-Service Center, 4802 Lockwood, 77026 - 832-393-5503
  • Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star, 77074 - 713-778-6500
  • Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, 4605 Wilmington Street, 77051 - 713-732-5030
  • Third Ward Multi-Service Center, 3611 Ennis Street, 77004 - 713-527-4005
  • West End Multi-Service Center, 170 Heights Blvd, 77007 - 713-803-1050
  • Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol Street, 77011 - 713-928-9515
  • McGuire-Dent Recreation & Fitness Center, 2222 28th Street Galveston, TX 77550
  • Wright Cuney Recreation Center, 718 41st Street Galveston, TX 77550

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