Homeless Elderly Man Has No Choice But To Cool Down With Sewer Water In NYC Heat — 'Bless His Heart'

His heartbreaking circumstances highlight the need for change.

homeless man camped out with tent and sign Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Those who are homeless deal with countless challenges that many will never understand. One of these challenges is exposure to the natural elements. 

When you don’t have adequate shelter, you’re willing to do almost anything to find relief.

A homeless man in New York was forced to cool off using sewer water.

TikTok content creator @vet_jackyll shared a video he took in New York City of a homeless elderly man. The man was in a subway station, where he stood underneath a trickle of sewer water coming out of the ground above.


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The man let the water hit his head and run down his face to cool himself off.

“Bless his heart,” the TikToker said in the video. “So many elderly here in NYC without a home! Sewer water just to cool down!”

In replies to various comments left on the video, the TikToker revealed he was a tourist in New York and did all he could to help the man by giving him $300 and talking with him for a little while.

TikTok commenters were heartbroken by what they saw.

“It’s so sad,” one person remarked. “Like, he was someone’s baby once.”

homeless man sitting at the bottom of subway steps ljubaphoto / Canva Pro


“This hurts me so badly,” someone else said.

“I wanna hug him,” a third person commented. “I feel so bad.”

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People who are homeless are exposed to the elements and in greater need of healthcare because of it.

Without a home, one is subject to the weather and Mother Nature. In this man’s case, that meant facing the extreme heat on the East Coast this summer.

On June 17, The New York Times reported that a heat wave would hit New York and other areas of the country.

“Millions of Americans are in store for a major heat wave this week as temperatures climb in the Northeast and other regions of the country, marking the kickoff to a summer that will be hotter than usual,” the Times said. “In New York City, temperatures will be in the high 90s.”


One of The New York Times’ sources commented on just how dangerous this can be for the homeless.

“Homeless people can be among those most affected by heat,” they wrote. “They might not have access to the air-conditioned refuges that are available to other New Yorkers, said Brian Ourien, the communications director of the Bowery Mission, a prominent aid group.”

The National Coalition for the Homeless wrote about the need for better healthcare for homeless people. They acknowledged that this can be largely due to exposure to the weather.

Homeless people experience increased exposure to the elements, disease, violence, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, stress and addictive substances — all of which increases the chance of requiring healthcare,” they said.

@jazjaz108 day in my life as a nurse who works 8-5 in homeless healthcare 🤍🫶🏻 i love my job and my patients!! #fyp #nursesoftiktok #nursing #nurselife #nursetok #austintx #healthcarelife #dayinmylife ♬ original sound - Jasmine

The Coalition’s mention of “unsanitary conditions” is also applicable to this situation. Because of this man’s exposure to harsh weather conditions, he had no choice other than to expose himself to unsanitary conditions through this sewer water.

Exposure to sewer water is dangerous.

The Alabama Department of Public Health shared the dangers of exposure to any kind of sewage.

“Sewage contains germs like bacteria and viruses as well as parasites and worms that can cause stomach and intestine or liver illness,” they wrote.


By exposing himself to sewer water, this man was effectively exposing himself to a host of issues that may not be visible but are very real and very dangerous.


🙏 watch till end. The hardest part was the emotions that came from this look back. I share my struggles because so many have lost their fight to homelessness & addiction😔

♬ Get You The Moon - Kina

Although this isn’t healthy, no one can fault him for it. He quite literally had no other choice but to cool himself down.


This man and others like him are a prime example of just why it’s so important to help those in need and ensure that everyone can take care of themselves with dignity, as they deserve to.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.