Sunlight beats down on the pavement of Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. Throughout the square, people sit on the ground, framed by only thin slivers of shade.

As usual, they have coffee cups beside them to collect change, but today, many are asking passersby for something else: a bottle of water.

Homeless people, more than anyone else, are vulnerable to the elements – a concern the city of Toronto is familiar with, as every winter those left out of crowded shelters face plunging nighttime temperatures. But street nurses, outreach workers and others say that the city’s strategy to address the issue, while evolving, is undermined by a misunderstanding of what it’s like to be homeless in summer weather.