Record Numbers Flock to Shelters During Heat

A Houston homeless shelter is reporting record numbers this week.  Administrators of the downtown Star of Hope Women and Children's shelter believe both the economy and high temperatures are to blame.

Last winter when the big freeze hit, most homeless shelters passed out blankets and sleeping bags to those living on the streets.  But during times like this when it's extremely hot, there's not a whole lot they can do to help.

Marilynn Fountain is the community relations director for the Star of Hope.

"We have people who might be able to survive in temperate times, but when the temperature gets as high as 104 degrees, it's just something they can't contend with."

Fountain says the facility is at full capacity, with 265 people currently living there and another 141 sleeping on the floor.  That's more than they've ever had before.

"There are many people who will try to survive in automobile, or an abandoned building, or someplace hidden away where you're not likely to notice.  You can't do that when the temperatures get to what they are now. It's not possible...they have to come in.  And then we have more people coming in with children."

Although it's a women and children's shelter, they're seeing more single fathers coming in with their children. People like 34-year-old Jason Courtney who is staying at the shelter with his ten-year-old daughter.

"Yeah, I've been through a lot of hardship in my life.  But I've never given up.  I've always...head strong, had God with me and not look back, look forward, no matter what it's been."

Star of Hope administrators say it's common for donations to go down during the summer, when many people are on vacation and not thinking about the homeless.  If you'd like to help out you can go to summerofhopehouston.org.