Scorching temperatures are a health hazard to the Valley’s homeless and elderly shut-ins, and one non-profit organization is mobilizing to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses among this vulnerable, growing population.
Phoenix Rescue Mission is partnering with several municipalities and businesses to launch its new “Code Red: Summer Heat Relief Campaign” on Wed., May 1. While the Mission has conducted annual summer water drives for several years, “Code Red” elevates the urgency of the call to action with a public plea for water, white socks, toiletries, cool snack packs, hats, light-colored T-shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, chilly neck coolers and more. Volunteers are needed to help with distribution efforts and other tasks. Monetary donations are also requested, particularly in May when the Mission qualifies for a matching grant made possible by several friends of the Phoenix Rescue Mission that ends May 31.
“The majority of homeless people on the streets are battling addiction challenges, which means many of them are already severely dehydrated because of their substance abuse. Combine that with extreme heat and it can be fatal,” said Jay Cory, Phoenix Rescue Mission president and CEO.
Arizona ranks as the 4th worst state in the nation for homelessness. A startling 13,248 men, women and children are homeless in Maricopa County, according to the most recent Maricopa Association of Governments street count and point-in-time shelter data. In addition, Phoenix was recently identified in a national HUD survey as one of the few places in the U.S. where the homeless street population has actually grown by 11 percent in 2012 as compared to 2011.
Public drop-off sites for water, socks, sunscreen, hats, toiletries and other heat relief items are located throughout the Valley. For a complete list of items needed and drop-off locations, visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org.
Phoenix Rescue Mission provides Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger and homelessness. The non-profit Mission, which has been operating since 1952, is asking the public for support of its many programs designed to save lives, including Hope Coach Street Outreach, Homeless Emergency Services, Men’s Addiction Recovery Program and the new Changing Lives Center for Women and Children. For more information, call (602) 346-3342 or visit www.phoenixrescuemission.org.