Alicia Williams checks Paul Yeager’s vital signs inside a mobile medical unit parked outside St. Vincent de Paul, a charity with a soup kitchen in Phoenix’s Sunny Slope neighborhood, Aug. 9. She has been waiting for housing assistance for two years.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


hide caption

toggle caption

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


Alicia Williams checks Paul Yeager’s vital signs inside a mobile medical unit parked outside St. Vincent de Paul, a charity with a soup kitchen in Phoenix’s Sunny Slope neighborhood, Aug. 9. She has been waiting for housing assistance for two years.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara

PHOENIX — On a hot morning in Phoenix, Paul Yager checks vital signs at a mobile clinic that treats homeless patients. He is 64 years old, HIV positive, and sleeps in a nearby park most nights. He believes this team is keeping him alive.

“I still have a lot of life left. With God’s help, I might have another 10 years,” Yeager said.

But it’s hard to get through the summer in Phoenix without shelter.

“I’m not fine anyway, so it’s just not good. It’s not healthy to be out in this kind of weather,” Yeager said.

No major US city has more triple-digit days than Phoenix. But its famous desert heat hurts more and more Arizonans each year. There have been associated deaths. But the death toll has reached record highs every summer since his 2016. Last year, the region saw an unprecedented 339 heat stroke deaths. This year is going to be the deadliest year yet. Advocates say their real concern isn’t that Arizona’s weather is too hot, but that they don’t have enough homes.

Dr. Kevin Foster, director of the Arizona Burn Center, told reporters in July, “It’s been a really bad summer for us this year.

Nina Gomez is a psychiatric nurse at Circle the City, a nonprofit that provides healthcare to homeless people. Dehydration and fatigue can have dire consequences for mental health, she said, Gomez said.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


hide caption

toggle caption

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


Nina Gomez is a psychiatric nurse at Circle the City, a nonprofit that provides healthcare to homeless people. Dehydration and fatigue can have dire consequences for mental health, she said, Gomez said.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara

Pavement can heat up to over 150 degrees in the Phoenix sun. Every summer, Foster treats patients who have fallen, are unable to get up, or have severe burns.

The Arizona Burn Center has treated a large number of patients this year. And he said Foster said the patient demographic is changing. In the past, patients were usually older people who struggled with balance. Foster’s patients are getting younger these days. Now they are often homeless, and many of the falls are related to substance abuse, he said.

“They go down and stay down for a long time. They end up suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke as well as severe burns. Often their body temperature is 108 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. .”

County records show similar demographic shifts. Homeless outdoor heatstroke is on the rise. Approximately 60% of cases involve substance use.

Dennis “Rooster” Williams, 69, and his German Shepherd, Shadow, sit outside St. Vincent de Paul in the Sunny Slopes neighborhood of Phoenix.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


hide caption

toggle caption

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


Dennis “Rooster” Williams, 69, and his German Shepherd, Shadow, sit outside St. Vincent de Paul in the Sunny Slopes neighborhood of Phoenix.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara

“All of these deaths can be prevented,” said David Hondura, director of Phoenix’s newly launched Office of Heat Management and Mitigation. [in heat fatalities] Much more related to what is happening in social services than it is related to the climate. “

Honduras are concerned about rising already hot temperatures in the region. The National Weather Service predicts that Phoenix will experience triple-digit heatwaves on average over 120 days per year over the next decade.

But Hondura is plagued by another trend. The homeless population in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is ​​located, has tripled since 2016.

Construction shortages dating back to the Great Recession of 2008, combined with explosive population growth, sent home prices skyrocketing. This contributes to the growing population of Arizonas who are homeless. Hondura said it was turning the fever into a more serious public health threat.

“Unprotected neighbors are absolutely at the highest risk of heat-related deaths,” Hondura said. “Our best estimate is that the unprotected community is about 200 to 300 times more at risk than the rest of the population.”

Dr. Mark Bueno, Medical Director of Circle the City’s Street Medicine Program.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


hide caption

toggle caption

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


Dr. Marc Bueno, Medical Director of Circle the City’s Street Medicine Program.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara

It’s not just about spending long hours outdoors. Honduras said people without shelter had limited access to health care, a higher likelihood of chronic health problems, and higher rates of addiction, all of which could increase risk. I was.

Dehydration and fatigue can also have dire consequences for mental health, said Nina Gomez, a psychiatric nurse at a mobile clinic run by the nonprofit Circle the City.

“Heat stress aggravates psychosis and makes it very difficult to get people to attend services,” Gomez said.

The city of Phoenix is ​​investing heavily to address the housing crisis, announcing in June it would allocate $70.5 million to affordable housing and homeless programs. But these problems cannot be solved overnight. So for now, organizations like Circle the City are trying to offer short-term solutions.

Circle the City’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Nina Gomez, stands with the nonprofit’s mobile health unit.

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


hide caption

toggle caption

NPR’s Kaitlyn O’Hara


Circle the City’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Nina Gomez, stands with the nonprofit’s mobile health unit.

NPR’s Caitlin O’Hara

“We’re trying to intervene early, so keep people hydrated, get food, and see if they need anything before it’s a complete crisis,” Gomez said.

And as the summer drags on, Yeager and other unprotected people at the clinic say they drink water, wear hats, and try to stay cool.



Source link

By admin1