More than 200 people have received refuge from the desert heat at three emergency cooling centers in the western Coachella Valley. For many, it’s the first time they have received services related to homelessness, organizers say, according to Will Dean of the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation.
The centers were opened July 1 in Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, and Palm Springs through a collaborative effort of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), Riverside County and the respective cities. Their primary goal is to give people experiencing homelessness in the valley’s western cities overnight shelter during the hottest season of the year. The emergency cooling centers are expected to remain open through September.
During their first month of operation, the emergency cooling centers saw 233 visitors who benefited from 3,133 services. Data compiled by CVAG and the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, which staffs the centers, show that a majority of occupants were 50 and older, male and white, according to Dean. But individuals and family members of various age groups, ethnicities, races and genders were served as well.
The centers provide multiple wrap-around services related to homelessness, in addition to a bed and food. Referrals are made regarding medical care, food stamps and more, the report shows.
To continue operating the emergency cooling centers through the summer, donations of money and supplies are needed,. In mid-June, the Desert Healthcare Foundation launched the Summer Homeless Survival Fund, an online account which accepts public donations (tax-deductible) here. Charitable contributions also can be by check, payable and mailed to the: Desert Healthcare Foundation, 1140 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
The fund has collected $15,020, as of Aug. 1. With a dollar-for-dollar match from the Foundation, the overall total is $30,040.
Supplies and other items that are needed include:
- Linens (sheets/pillow cases)
- Individually wrapped snacks
- Bottled water
- Paper products
- Air fresheners (plug-ins, sprays, etc.)
- Gently-used clothing
- 8 storage racks
- 6 laptops
- 6 commercial washers
- 12 commercial dryers
- 4 vehicles (SUVs/Vans)
To schedule a pickup, please contact Tom Cox, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (760) 357-3512 ext. 251.
- Fan: Image by Bruno Glätsch from Pixabay