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Heatwave Challenged Some Of SVDP's Homeless Services, Now They're Preparing For The Future

Melorie Begay/KLCC News

A nonprofit that helps the unhoused endured last month's record breaking heatwave with a broken refrigerator and without air conditioning. Now, St. Vincent de Paul is preparing for future emergencies.


Director of Homeless and Emergency Services Roxann O’Brien says they’ve since fixed equipment and are addressing other issues that came up during the heatwave. More than 100 people are suspected to have died becuase of the heatwave in Oregon.


For example, O'Brien said Pallet Shelters, which are small stand up structures, are now being outfitted with A/C units because the shelters couldn't handle the heat. SVDP also plans to build outdoor coverage for their refrigeration units to keep compressors out of direct sunlight.


"We're are always constantly looking for better solutions," she said. "Our ultimate goal is to house the unsheltered and we have several programs that do that." Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, accelerates the need for permanent housing, O'Brien adds.


“It always makes it more life threatening and shows us the importance of having shelter that is meant for people to be in not like cars or tents but that they need their own apartment, their own house or a room in a house,” she said.


SVDP is asking the community for donations of bottled water and storage space to help with preparations for future extreme weather events. Water donations can be dropped off at any SVDP store and warehouse space can be donated by contacting 541-543-5408.

Copyright 2021 KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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