NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the temperature rises, so does the number of people needing a cool place to stay, and many have flocked to Nashville-area shelters to beat the heat, presenting possible future capacity issues.
In total, there are more than 800 women, men, and children staying at the Nashville Rescue Mission.
Despite the shelter having space for 20 families, there are now 25 under the mission’s roof.
In addition, the heat has pushed new people into the shelter.
“Many of the people, families and youth, we’ve not seen before,” said Cheryl Chunn, vice president of development at the Nashville Rescue Mission. “We believe that they’re living in places out in the heat, so they’re coming here for relief.”
Chunn told News 2 they’re also seeing more families and children than ever before. She believes the lack of affordable housing and the high temperatures are the two main reasons for the influx.
While the mission is more full than before, Chunn said it’s a positive problem to have, because they’re helping more people and are able to get them the services they need.
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“It still is a good thing for us,” Chunn said. “We feel they can come out of the heat, get a meal, get shelter, get cool, get a shower, so we feel good about that, but when we see the volume, it’s a little frightening for us because all of us will be at capacity at some point.”
Nashville Rescue Mission employees held an emergency meeting Friday to come up with a plan on how to handle the influx of people ahead of the anticipated heat warning this weekend.
Chunn said the shelter has acquired extra cots from the Nashville Office of Emergency Management, which has had heat patrol crews present throughout the city.
On Wednesday, OEM’s patrols handed out 28 water bottles and responded to 12 heat-related health calls- two of the callers were homeless and the rest were people who had to work outside.
OEM will resume its heat patrols Saturday and Sunday, as temperatures are expected to rise.