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Seniors Seek Shelter from Heat at Senior Centers | News

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Seniors Seek Shelter from Heat at Senior Centers

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- Extreme heat can be unforgiving to even the most healthy person, but doctors say senior citizens are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

The senior center located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Carey Avenue has been packed for the past few days as a desert heat wave bakes the Las Vegas valley.

Leroy Mullen, 60, has taken solace from the scorching sun inside the center.

"I don't have electric right now. I use an electric generator."

Mullen has no air conditioner. He uses a gas run generator to operate fans in his home.

"This is the worst part of the year for me," he said.

Hundreds of valley senior citizens are heading to senior centers to escape the heat.

"It's maxed out. We're to the point where sometimes we don't have enough seats," said Calvin Hilson, who coordinates activities at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

He said many of their occupants are either homeless or just can't afford to pay their summer electric bill.

"When the summer comes and the power bill increases, they're income doesn't increase," Hilson said.

"Well I have other bills. I can't pay too much on light bills," said Shirley Johnson who lives on a fixed income.

Hilson fears the very people he has sworn to help, may not be back the next day.

"Everyday when we're coming into work, we're looking for their face to make sure they made it through the afternoon, made it through the night," he said.

It's difficult for Mullen and others when the center closes at 5 p.m. because it is usually the hottest time of the day and he must walk home.

"Walking out there in the heat, I might not be able to make it home," Mullen said.

There are energy assistance programs for seniors to get help with their air conditioner bill, but several of the seniors who spoke with 8 News NOW said they already used assistance money to pay for their heat when it was cold.