07/06/2010 11:47 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

East Coast Heat Wave: How Do The Homeless Cope?

As a vicious heat wave continues to cook the midwest and east coast, with no sign of relief until Thursday, focus in media coverage turns to how to beat the heat and stay safe. The strategies are simple: drink lots of water, avoid too much exposure to the sun, and look after the elderly and those with respiratory problems. Eleven deaths have been blamed for the extreme heat.

The homeless population is intensely affected by the heat wave. Water may not be much of a problem, but shelter from the sun is. A 56-year-old homeless woman in Waterford Township, Mich., was discovered dead from hyperthermia on Sunday afternoon.

The Valley Mission in Staunton, Va., is offering shelter to those who have nowhere else to go, as are many other public recreation facilities and places of worship.

From WHSV in Va.:

Valley Mission director David Reed says, this time of year, the mission is very concerned about heat-related injuries and those who don't have someplace to go.

"I would encourage anyone, if you see someone who appears to be homeless, please ask them to come to the shelter. They'll be cared for, housed, kept cool at night at least, well fed and safe," says Reed.

Individuals across the area are encouraged to look after those who may not have shelter. Help them find shade or buy them a bottle of cold water to cool down. It may just give someone some comfort, or it could save their life.