Jul. 3, 2018 10:24 am

Here’s where people living on Philly streets can find respite from the heat

People experiencing homelessness lack consistent access to water, shade and shelter, making them extra vulnerable during heat health emergencies.

Kiddos beating the heat at Dilworth Park.

(Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

This article has been updated with additional information. (7/3, 4:56 p.m.)
On Sunday, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley declared the city’s first heat health emergency of the year due to heat indexes that were forecasted to surpass 100 degrees. The declaration will end on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

It’s expected to feel as hot as 105 degrees on Tuesday afternoon. Like extreme weather during the winter, heat endangers people experiencing homelessness who lack consistent access to water, shade and shelter. Heat-related illnesses can be life threatening, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Below are resources available for those seeking reprieve from the heat:

Precautions taken by the City of Philadelphia during the heat health emergency

There are several “cooling centers” in the city, including air-conditioned spaces and public spraygrounds (all are detailed on this map). Some are Free Library of Philadelphia locations designated to extend their hours when Farley declares a heat health emergency.

People contacting the city’s Heatline will be connected to nurses from the health department, who can answer questions about health concerns such as the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

Outreach teams from the Office of Homeless Services (OHS) will also expand their hours during the heat health emergency, OHS Deputy Director Roberta Cancellier wrote in an email to Generocity.


  • The city’s Heatline is 215-765-9040.


  • The extended hours for Free Library of Philadelphia locations designated as cooling centers can be found here. Note: No times are listed on Wednesday.

The heatline’s operating hours are:

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  • Tuesday — 8:30 a.m. to midnight
  • Wednesday — 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission

The Callowhill nonprofit at 13th Street near Pearl Street serves three meals per day, 365 days per year. It also offers a men’s emergency shelter, where clients receive a meal and shower before bed.

Contacted via social media, a rep for SBRM said it would continue to offer its regularly planned services during the heat wave.

“Anyone is welcome to stay in our day room to rest and stay hydrated during this heat,” the response read.



  • Breakfast is served at 7 a.m., lunch at noon and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Its hours are listed as “always open” on its Facebook page.

Broad Street Ministry

Meals are offered five days per week at BSM on Broad Street between Spruce and Pine streets. Six days per week, it also hosts workshops that range from Bible study to counseling with a mental health nurse.

In a Facebook message to Generocity, a rep for BSM wrote that it will offer its normal programming, and its doors are open to people suffering in the heat.

“Folks often come inside to escape the heat,” the message continued. “We have tables and chairs for people to sit and relax and we offer cold water.”


  • BSM can be reached at 215-735-4847.


  • BSM’s regular hours are 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. It opens from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays, with a service starting at 4 p.m. This week, the organization will be closed on Wednesday for the holiday.

Lunch is offered Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m.

Workshops and services on Tuesday include:

  • Art from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Bible study from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Jefferson School of Nursing wellness clinic from 11:30 to 2 p.m.
  • Mental health nurse 11:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Kensington Storefront

The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and Mural Arts hub on Kensington Avenue near Somerset Street has its Tea & Textiles workshop on Tuesdays. In the air-conditioned space, participants can learn to weave and enjoy refreshments.


  • The storefront can be reached at 267-687-1669.


  • The Tea & Textiles workshop is offered twice on Tuesdays, starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Hub of Hope

Project HOME’s Hub of Hope in Suburban Station offers a range of services, including having somewhere to rest and on-site case managers to guide people through obtaining a permanent home.

The walk-in engagement center was originally open during the winter only, but expanded to yearlong operations.


  • Hub of Hope can be reached at 215-309-5225.


  • It’s open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Update: Program Manager Angie Lewis said the Hub of Hope will be open on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to the heat health emergency, but none of its normally scheduled programs will be held.

Emergency intake shelters

On its website, Homeless Advocacy Project lists emergency intake shelters in the city by the population they serve: families, single women and single men. The Google Map below includes these locations, their hours and contact information, if available.

Note: The Appletree Family Center, listed under “Shelters for families,” also services single women. Also, facilities that will be open during the holiday on Wednesday have orange markers.


If a facility that meets your needs has not been included, see Project HOME’s comprehensive guide on how to assist people experiencing homelessness. It includes details on centers for the LGBTQ community and where medical care is available. Project HOME also has a 24-hour homeless outreach hotline that can be reached at 215-232-1984 or 1-877-222-1984.


Editor’s note: This guide may be updated. If you’d like your organization to be added to the guide, please email


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