Homeless community battling deadly summer heat

Homeless community battling deadly summer heat

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Basin's homeless population is struggling to stay hydrated and cool as temperatures continue soaring during the ongoing heat wave.

Triple-digit temperatures this summer have been linked to the death of at least one vagrant in Midland, city officials said.

"He's probably not the only one," said Bradley Parkins, a man holding a "Homeless - Please Help" sign outside Jumburrito on Wall Street. "I've seen a lot of the [homeless] guys sitting out here passing out from heat stroke."

Parkins said he resorted to panhandling at the corner of Wall Street and S Midkiff Road about a month ago, after breaking his arm and being unable to work or afford surgery.

"This is the first time in my life I haven't worked," he said. "But people who drive past me and see my sign think I'm some kind of loser."

The looks of disdain he receives from passersby are as unbearable as the heat, Parkins added.

He described a typical day outside Jumburrito as "miserable" but said the handful of people who stopped by with change and cool beverages - or merely a smile - gave him hope.

"When it [reaches] the hundreds out here, it gets rough," said Parkins. "And it ain't better in the shade."

A friend on a motorcycle rode by Monday afternoon to bring him food and said he was motivated to help after learning about the heat wave's devastating impact on the homeless community.

"A guy over here died," he said. "And I don't want it happening to anyone else."

The Salvation Army of Midland welcomes anyone in need to seek refuge at their local shelters. The non-profit can be reached at (432) 683-3614.

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