North Central News

Finding relief from the heat for homeless

Volunteers with Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope Coach hand out heat-relief items, including bottled water, to members of the homeless community during the summertime (photo by Cliff Danley).

Experts predict 2019 could be the hottest year on record, putting the Valley’s homeless and elderly shut-ins at risk. Arizona is ranked among the worst states in the nation for homelessness, with more than 25,000 people in Maricopa County who have no place to call home–37 percent of whom are women and children in families, according to a recent Point in Time study conducted by Maricopa County.

In an effort to protect this vulnerable population, local organization are asking the public to help with contributions of bottled water, sunscreen, new white socks, and more.

Phoenix Rescue Mission
Phoenix Rescue Mission on May 1 launched its 7th-annual Code:Red Summer Heat Relief Campaign. Through Aug. 31, Phoenix Rescue Mission is partnering with businesses and municipalities, including the cities of Phoenix, Peoria and Glendale, to distribute water, in-the-package new socks, toiletry kits (Hope Totes) and other heat-relief items to those living on the streets this summer. As the temps begin to climb, the Mission is asking the public to support its efforts by donating needed items, volunteering time or providing monetary donations, which will be matched up to $150,000, made possible by a grant from several friends of the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

“Code:Red is a city wide campaign and we need the public’s support from all corners of the Valley, because the summer heat doesn’t care which zip code our homeless may find themselves in,” said Phoenix Rescue Mission CEO Jay Cory. “Anyone can help, whether it’s dropping off a case of water at any of our drop-off locations or volunteering your time on our Hope Coach, handing out water to those on the streets who are in need.”

Public drop-off sites for water are located throughout the Valley, including Bethany Bible Church, 6060 N. 7th Ave. Additional locations can be found here.

For more information on what to donate or to start a Code:Red drive, contact Catie Hammann at or 602-346-3347.

Weather Relief Drive
The Human Services Campus (HSC) and on-campus partners St. Joseph The Worker, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Circle the City, Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS), the Homeless I.D. Project, Brighter Way Institute, A New Leaf, Elaine Health Navigation and Transportation for the Homeless and the Arizona Department of Economic Security have launched a Weather Relief Drive to collect cases of bottled water and other necessary weather-related and hygiene items, including dog shoes.

HSC, a nonprofit agency, owns and operates a 13-acre campus at 12th Avenue and Madison that is home to 20 nonprofit organizations providing services and resources to people experiencing homelessness.

“Every day for a person experiencing homelessness is difficult. Summer heat makes it exponentially worse,” said HSC Executive Director Amy Schwabenlender. “Given the available space to provide shelter at the Human Services Campus, we have to look beyond our limited capabilities to provide whatever help we can to men and women on the streets during the summer. This drive will benefit all of our collaborating partners and our collective clients.”

Current permitting allows Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) to accommodate 425 individuals each night, but beds are generally always full and up to 450 people asking for a shelter bed each month are turned away because there are not enough available.

During the summer months, campus partners can accommodate an additional 275 people nightly.

In addition to cases of bottled water, which can be scheduled for drop-off by calling 602-282-0849 or by e-mailing, other items being collected for the summer include:

• Summer Kits (sunscreen, hats, visors, sunglasses, lip balm with SPF, aloe burn gel, reusable water bottles)
• White flat hotel-grade sheets (twin size preferred)
• Shoes and socks (new or gently used adult gym shoes and new white socks)
• Non-perishable snacks like granola bars, trail mix or oatmeal.

For more information on how you can contribute financially, visit

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