Charleston woman hopes to add cooling shelters during summer for homeless


As temperatures climb and humidity rises during the summer season, one Charleston resident is looking for ways to help others stay cool.

Leah Whatley said she saw people asking about cooling shelters on Facebook.

After doing some research, she found that Charleston does not offer many shelters to help people cool off when it’s hot outside—something she says is a huge concern for those who are homeless.

“It’s come to my attention that there’s a problem with people needing cooling during the summer,” Whatley said. “They don’t have anywhere to seek refuge outside of the elements.” 

In her research, Leah found only two centers that offer refuge for cool air during the summer.

“I would like to see at least two centers in West Ashley, and maybe five downtown, and then just kind of go from there,” Whatley said.

Whatley spent Sunday taking some of the first steps in her project.

Whatley said she will start by calling all of the churches she can think of and asking them to open their doors to those in need of a cooler climate during the summer.

“I’m a person of faith,” Whatley said. “And I believe that the commission on the church is to take care of the community.”

Whatley said she’s confident her project will be a success. She’s going to work hard to make it a reality, but she’s also confident because of the generosity and support she’s already seen from her community.

“We have a community full of generous, giving people,” Whatley said. “And that makes me so proud to be a Charlestonian.”

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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