By Jim Greene

Mayor Menino and the City of Boston recognize that extremely hot weather poses hardships for homeless people who are elderly or disabled, struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or who take medications that cause sensitivity to the hot sun.

The Mayor has asked the Emergency Shelter Commission to offer the following information as part of a citywide effort to respond proactively to support the wellbeing of homeless persons during the heat wave. Thank you.

Be Our Eyes and Ears

If a person in need approaches you or you observe someone needing help, and you believe this may be a medical or safety emergency, please contact 911 immediately.

Passed Out or Suffering from the Heat and Sun?

If a person appears passed out, do not assume they are “just drunk,” instead call 911. People can become dehydrated rapidly in extremely hot weather and anyone “passed out,” lying in the sun or badly sunburned is medically at risk.

Water, Water Everywhere

Many homeless people do not have ready access to water. It is both compassionate and helpful to offer bottled water to homeless persons in addition to sunscreen or hats for sun protection. Suggesting moving into shaded areas may also help someone with sun or heat exposure.

A Place to Stay Inside

Homeless shelters listed below offer people who are particularly vulnerable or at risk of heat-related health problems the option of staying in for the day or coming early during hot weather advisories.

Heat and Hot Weather Contact Information 

Emergency Contacts

Medical/safety emergencies – 911 (from landline) or 617-343-4911 (from a cell phone)

Non-emergency concerns – 617-635-4500 for the Mayor’s 24 Hour Service

Emergency Shelter Resources

Woods-Mullen Shelter – 617-534-7100

New England Center for Homeless Veterans – 617-248-9400

Long Island Shelter – 617-534-2526

Pine Street Inn – 617-892-9100

hopeFound Shelter – 617-983-0351

Rosie’s Place 617- 442-9322

Daytime Centers and Drop-Ins

St. Francis House – 617-542-4211

The Women’s Lunch Place – 617-267-1722

Weintraub Day Center – 617-534-7100

Cardinal Medeiros Day Center for Older Adults – 617-619-6960


Jim is the director of BPHC’s Emergency Shelter Commission.