It is a well-known fact that heatwaves and other extreme weather phenomena have more severe consequences on people with poor housing conditions due to the degree of insulation and the increasing need to heat or cool down their houses. What about those who are entierly, without a house? A recent study conducted by researchers of the University of California San Diego and published in the American Journal of Public Health concludes that:
- People that experience homelessness are considered to be among the most vulnerable to extreme weather impacts, due to their exposure to the elements and high rates of preexisting health conditions such as mental illness, as well as higher rates of smoking drug, and alcohol use.
- The same weather that makes living unsheltered possible in California also exposes people experiencing homelessness to a higher risk of a wide range of heat-induced health conditions that can result in end-organ damage and even death.
This unavoidably raises the issue of activating heat action plans as well as understanding and prioritizing the needs of this vulnerable population as a necessary action of an effective adaptation strategy.