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Where can people without homes keep cool in Boise? New map points the way

Ada County's Our Path Home partnership has released a map of places that welcome those in need of somewhere to get out of the summer heat.

BOISE, Idaho — To ease the burn of temperatures in the 90s -- and higher -- air conditioners provide relief for people in houses, apartments and businesses around the Treasure Valley. For the hundreds of people in the area experiencing homelessness, however, beating the summer heat is more difficult.

That's why the Our Path Home partnership working to end homelessness in Ada County is getting the word out about places that welcome people who need a place to cool down. Our Path Home has released on its website a map of daytime cooling spaces. Partners include Boise Parks and Recreation and Boise Public Library, Interfaith Sanctuary, Corpus Christi House, Cathedral of the Rockies and the Treasure Valley Family YMCA.

"As it gets extremely hot outside, it's hard for folks to maintain their core temperatures," said Eli Griffin, Our Path Home coordinator. "We want to ensure first and foremost that they're staying cool and safe and don't get too hot, but we also want folks to have a place to go to during the day where they can go and be a part of our community."  

The cooling spaces are open between July 6 and August 31. Hours and services vary, and more details are posted on the Our Path Home cooling website:

Ann Morrison Park - sunrise to sunset; misters available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Misters and white temporary shade structures are in two spots located in the middle of the park between Americana Boulevard and the water fountain (fountain is under construction). The OUTREACH team will occasionally stop by with water.

Boise City Hall

  • Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in first-floor lobby

Boise Public Library (Downtown - 715 S. Capitol Blvd.)

  • Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Corpus Christi - 525 S. Americana Blvd.

  • Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; closed Sundays

Cathedral of the Rockies - 717 N. 11th St., Boise

  • Sunday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Our Path Home - OUTREACH (511 S. Americana Blvd.)

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

YMCA Downtown - 1050 W. State St.

  • Monday-Friday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • YMCA membership required - The OUTREACH team is able to assist people in signing up for a free membership and in obtaining an ID; call the Housing Crisis Hotline at 208-336-4663 for more information; sex offenders not allowed inside YMCA.

Multiple days with high temperatures of 100 degrees or hotter are in the forecast for Boise starting July 12. Before then, highs exceeding 90 degrees are expected every day.

Prolonged exposure to heat can lead to cramps, exhaustion and even heat stroke, which occurs when the body no longer sweats and body temperature reaches dangerous levels.

To stay safe in the summer heat, stay hydrated; drink about 16 ounces of water before going outside, then drink 5 to 7 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks can be dehydrating. Also, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Use a damp rag to wipe your face or put it around your neck to cool off. To avoid sunburn while outside, use sunscreen and wear a hat.

The Our Path Home team welcomes donations of needed items, including reusable water bottles, bottled water, sunscreen and cooling rags. If you're interested in donating, email info@ourpathhome.org.

Anyone experiencing a housing crisis can get connected to help by calling the Boise Housing Crisis Hotline at 208-336-HOME (208-336-4663).

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