Bay Area residents try to keep cool as heatwave grips region

As temperatures soar over the next few days around the Bay Area, community leaders are trying to make sure people stay safe.

A few people cooled off at the Camden Community Center on Wednesday, taking advantage of free water, wifi, and charging stations. But a lot of people were still outside, trying to cope with the fact it was so hot, this early in the summer.

High temperatures can mean high danger, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

Over the next few days, emergency crews expect to have their hands full. So do cooling centers around San Jose.

"Right now we have two rooms available and we would open two more," said Daniel Lazo with the City of San Jose.

For those who live on the streets, the risk is especially great. For unhoused residents who live in tents, temperatures rise fast.

"As long as I'm in the shade I'm OK," said Mary, who asked not to use her last name.

So on Wednesday, homeless advocates made their rounds, handing out water and food. They said since the pandemic, more people have moved into encampments like never before.

"This is a time when we save lives, literally. It sounds dramatic but it is dramatic. This problem is indescribably bad now," said Scott Wagers, a homeless advocate with CHAM Deliverance Ministries.

While some people tried to beat the heat, there were plenty more outside.

"It's brutal at times. If it's really warm over 100 degrees, it's unbearable," said Richard Wilkins, who spent part of his day playing dominoes with friends.

Wilkins said he's willing to suffer a bit for the sake of his daily game.

"We come out rain or shine," he said.

Homeless advocates said they will keep handing out water and cooling centers will be open through at least Friday. The one at the Camden Community Center will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. on each of those days.