Blame this summer’s weather on whatever you want: Global warming, the impending apocalypse, a Democratic President, a Republican Congress, a surprisingly moderate Supreme Court, or the fact that the Miami Heat won the NBA championship.
Whatever the case, the inclement weather has become a dangerous summer fling.
Freakish summer thunderstorms have caused a dozen deaths, and counting.
Out of control fires have threatened 20,000 homes throughout Colorado.
Power outages are wreaking havoc on a population scrambling to stay cool in triple-digit heat waves.
Even some of our most popular social media and entertainment sites were affected when a storm knocked Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest offline.
Lives, homes, and air conditioning have become the casualties of a summer gone mad. And being unable to post a photo on Instagram will make any social media enthusiast mad. Crazy mad.
Nearly every summer, however, our country endures extreme conditions. From fires to heat waves, from tropical storms to power outages.
Everyone knows that, in these inclement conditions, the sick, the elderly, and the poor suffer most. They also account for most of the casualties.
It just makes sense. If I am housed, and a heat wave shuts down my air conditioner, I can find other ways to stay cool or temporarily go somewhere that still has electricity. If my house burns down from a raging fire, I typically have the wherewithal to rebuild.
But those who have no homes, and who lack the revenue to even shelter themselves in an air-conditioned movie theater or shopping mall for a few hours, have limited options.
Local city workers are setting up “cooling centers” to help those who are homeless, but they are just temporary respites from extreme conditions.
Isn’t homelessness, living stranded on the streets of America, extreme enough?
It doesn’t matter if this country is enduring a wickedly frozen winter or a fiery hot summer, those living on the streets are constantly struggling with extreme conditions that could kill them.
It’s time to put the heat on our political leaders to protect people who are homeless from extreme conditions, 365 days per year, by building enough affordable housing.
Photo by Karl Gehring, The Denver Post.