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New cooling van helps the homeless during excessive heat

Downtown Phoenix
Posted at 2:38 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-10 08:20:49-04

PHOENIX — The City of Phoenix and some local nonprofits are teaming up to help those living on the street.

Thanks to a grant from council member Yassamin Ansari, Arizona Jews for Justice and Hugs for the Houseless were able to turn a regular minivan into a mobile cooling center.

"One of the big goals with this project is to bring the heat relief, bring the cooling to those that are most vulnerable," said Austin Davis, founder of Hugs for the Houseless.

Davis said he's been working with Arizona Jews for Justice doing homeless outreach when he realized that some people had trouble getting to certain cooling centers or shelters.

Still, he tries connecting the people he meets with resources like detox centers or places to stay.

The cooling van has portable air conditioners, misters, a pop-up tent, and water.

"We travel place to place throughout the Valley and bring it to canals, alleys, parks, just different places around the valley," he said.

Davis said it's important to help those in need, especially during this heat.

Last year, Maricopa County had more than 330 heat-related deaths.

According to Davis, the cooling van can reach a couple hundred people a day.

But he is still looking for more donations and volunteers.

Those interested in helping can reach out to Arizona Jews for Justice online here.