CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Joe Garza and Mary Mendoza sat under a gazebo at the Al Kruse Tennis Center in Corpus Christi on Wednesday.
With bottles of water surrounding them, they watched TV on their phones, hydrating and staying cool in the shade.
It’s where they call home during the day in the sweltering summer heat.
“It’s very very hot and we ain’t got no place to go,” Garza said.
They lost their state issued I.D.s three years ago, which has prevented them from getting jobs.
They have been homeless ever since.
“You can’t be homeless until you be in my footsteps, sleeping in the streets everyday, wake up wondering when we’re going to eat or sleep or like take a bath, or what happens next,” Garza said.
Garza said they can’t go into local homeless shelters because they don’t allow their dog, Princess, to go in.
Mendoza also struggles with anxiety and prefers to sleep with Garza for comfort. She said the shelters they try getting into don’t allow them to sleep together.
Fighting the heat is a daily struggle, especially during the summer.
“I get very, very strong heat strokes from passing out or like not drinking enough water, but that’s why I drink a lot of water and I try to stay out of the heat,” Garza said.
Karen Beard, Driscoll Children's Hospital’s injury prevention training coordinator, said no sweating, dizziness, nausea and confusion can all be symptoms of heat stroke.
She recommends wearing loose clothing, protecting yourself against sunburn and drinking a lot of water to prevent heat exhaustion.
Beard said moving to the shade, a cool compress, and CPR can all help if you already have heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
However, the heat is also a struggle for Mendoza during the night.
“It’s like really, really hot and I have asthma and at night it’s like harder for me to breathe and I don’t have an inhaler,” Mendoza explained.
Through their hardships in the heat, Mendoza and Garza are asking for something they cannot buy: compassion.
“Why do you feel like people should have more compassion for people who live out on the streets during the summer when it’s really hot?” we asked them.
“Help one another out and they’re going to get good help in return back. It’s just the right thing to do to help the homeless out,” Garza said.