Maricopa County, City of Phoenix Partner to Offer Heat Relief to People Experiencing Homelessness
Just as the summer heat settles into the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County and the City of Phoenix have partnered to open a facility in central Phoenix that will provide relief from the soaring summer heat for up to 200 people experiencing homelessness. Located near 28th and Washington Streets, the facility is owned by the City of Phoenix.
“With homelessness increasing across the region, we need to address both the immediate and long-term needs of individuals and communities. This partnership achieves that,” said Chairman Bill Gates, Supervisor for District 3. “First, it provides shelter that will literally save lives during the intense summer heat. Second, it connects people experiencing homelessness to resources that can help them find jobs and permanent housing.”
The County and City each provided more than $2 million from their federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. The funding will allow this heat relief location to operate through October 31.
“Maricopa County has invested more than $140 million during the COVID-19 pandemic to combat homelessness and address the affordable housing shortage in our community,” said Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “Ultimately, every single person in Maricopa County, regardless of income, should have a safe place to stay and sleep. I applaud our Human Services Department, leaders at the City of Phoenix, and staff at St. Vincent de Paul for making this happen.”
The first people to be served at this new cooling facility will be people from the neighborhood surrounding the facility who are experiencing homelessness. This is in keeping with the city’s Good Neighbor Agreement.
“Arizona’s summer heat can be deadly. We need to ensure that everyone, especially our most vulnerable residents, has a safe place to stay cool during our hottest months,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This shelter is just one part of the City of Phoenix’s strong commitment to leading with services and connecting those who are unsheltered with the appropriate resources.”
In addition to offering a safe, indoor escape from the summer heat during the day and night hours, people staying at the cooling facility will have access to three meals each day, a secure place to store their belongings and they can even bring their pets. St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) will be operating the cooling center and provide access to comprehensive case management services.
“It’s a great privilege and responsibility to be one of the lead partners on this program,” said Jessica Berg, SVdP Chief Program Officer. “We like to think that City and County chose SVdP for not only our proven track record of running a successful shelter, but also for our culture of dignified service, kindness and working collaboratively with our neighbors.”
Trained personnel will be on hand to assist people with their unique needs and provide support to address barriers to permanent living situations. This might include assisting people with getting identification, accessing medical and financial benefits, connection to employment opportunities as well as accessing bridge housing.
About Maricopa County Human Services
As the fourth largest county in the nation home to some of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, Maricopa County’s population is large, growing, and more diverse than ever. Maricopa County’s Human Services Department has five divisions that provide services and programs to people of all ages and abilities to promote their well-being. From offering early education to career training and employment services to case management for aging and adults with disabilities — the Human Services Department serves as a leader in the region to support strong families, neighborhoods, and community relationships. Learn more about the financial, educational, and support resources available to eligible Maricopa County residents at HSD.maricopa.gov.