As this summer reaches record -breaking temperatures, many people in Europe are at risk of overexposure to the sun

Ghent sends water patrols to assist the homeless amid heatwave

Ghent sends water patrols to assist the homeless amid heatwave

While the patrols will offer water and basic medical assistance, the city asks residents to be vigilant and intervene when they notice someone in need

As the heatwave in western Europe rages on, many local governments move on to implement measures to help citizens cool off. This is the case with Ghent in Belgium, where, for the first time ever, local authorities have deployed three patrols to help homeless people during the worst of summer.

The patrols’ main task is to distribute water to people in need, as well as to call for medical help in the case of dehydration and heatstroke. Additionally, the patrols will also tour the city’s suburbs, parks and the Sint-Pieters station, where there is a higher chance to find homeless people in need.

The summer version of the service in Ghent was designed and structured to function like the winter homeless patrols that exist in some cities. Last November, Berlin launched a similar aid service, where social workers would travel the city and offer people in need hot tea, and sleeping bags or a drive to a medical facility, if need be.

Also, winter equivalents of the service use the occasion to offer homeless people a city’s social care package. This is an important point because oftentimes, applying for social services requires a certain degree of knowledge on the part of the vulnerable.

In this case, however, service providers take an active role in seeking out people in need of assistance. This idea is at the core of Ghent’s summer homeless patrols.

Do not be afraid to help homeless people

Alderman for Education, Family and Outreach, Evita Willaert, quoted by VRT, explained that the patrols are looking for people who are sleeping outside and in need of water. They also check if people need medical help or are dehydrated after sleeping in the sun.

Furthermore, city officials implore residents to keep an eye out for those in need. In particular, they are asked to reach out to the city should need be or simply offer some water to those who need it.



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