CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Heat stroke and dehydration are common whenever the mercury rises and people without a home have fewer options to avoid the heat. That’s why CU at Home is extending hours for its Phoenix Center to offer a cooling station for people who need a break from the heat.

They want to provide a safe place to make sure people don’t overheat. Often, when people think about shelters, it’s during the winter so people can stay warm.

But CU at Home Executive Director Melissa Courtwright said the summer is just as important when central Illinois has high temperatures. When the heat index gets up to triple digits, the shelter opens up for extra cooling hours.

“We see a lot of people coming in that have been out and have been walking around, sweat pouring off of them,” Courtwright said.

Levelle McGee has been staying at the shelter off and on and said the cooling shelter has been helpful to him and his friends as the heat becomes unbearable.

“You have a lot of people with medical conditions, people who doesn’t have necessary means to get shelter from the sun,” McGee said. “So they provide a lot of things like water, showers and things for people on the outside who really need it.”

But water is something CU at Home is needing more of in order to supply it to those who come to the shelter. Courtwright said they go through three to four cases of water every day.

“Especially if they are not staying in the shelter,” she said. “Maybe they are couch surfing or homeless in that sense, and so they want to take as much water with them as they can when they have to go back out.”

CU at home is asking anyone with water, Gatorade or any other beverages to donate them to keep people without an address safe and hydrated this summer.

Courtwright said there is still room available for women who need to stay at the shelter overnight. They are at capacity for men, but the Phoenix Center has not hit capacity during the day.