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Homeless population 'hardest hit' during hot weather: Souls Harbour

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It's going to be hot across the Maritimes over the next few days.

While some are taking advantage of the summer weather, for others the heat is making a difficult situation even more challenging.

"Terrible, because you can't cool off unless you're living by a lake," said Percy Stevens.

Stevens said he has been homeless for about three years. Right now, he said he's trying to couch surf after a shelter he built out of pallets was burned down.

With temperatures expected to be near 30 C this week, Stevens stopped by Souls Harbour Rescue Mission to get out of the heat.

"It's awesome. If it wasn’t for Souls Mission here, and good friends, I wouldn't be alive," said Stevens.

Souls Harbour Rescue Mission CEO Michelle Porter knows this will be a challenging time for many people.

"I'm especially concerned with people who are staying in tents when it is this hot and there's no breeze. You can't sleep inside your tent, but you also can't sleep outside in the elements because of bugs and all that," said Porter.

Souls Harbour provides meals for those in need, and also allows people to enjoy some time with air conditioning.

"I think that people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are the hardest hit for the heat wave," said Porter. "We're serving 200 people a day here, but we aren't open 24 hours a day, and so once we close the doors, people are seeking that shelter from the heat."

When the doors at Souls Harbour aren't open, people can still find relief.

"We just make sure we’ve got water outside. Self-serve 24 hours a day during days like this," said Porter.

At this time, Halifax Regional Municipality said it will not be opening cooling centres. The municipality said people can go to splash pads or pools to cool down, or head inside recreation centres, libraries and mall.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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