Arizona is one of the hottest places in the country during the summer months – and heat-related illnesses and deaths are common during this time. State records show that each year nearly 2,000 people visit Arizona emergency rooms due to heat-related illnesses. Between 2000 and 2012, there have been more than 1,500 deaths from exposure to excessive heat in the state – which averages to 118 individuals each year.
The nearly 8,000 men, women and children experiencing homelessness in the Valley are particularly vulnerable during these months. Their exposure to the summer’s elements not only increases their chances for heat-related illnesses, but also increases the potential for death.
“CASS plays an integral role in decreasing weather-related illnesses and deaths among the homeless in the Valley”, said Mark Holleran, CEO of CASS. “Our approach embraces three efforts: open additional emergency shelter; distribute heat relief health kits; and provide bottled water to anyone in need", he continues.
On June 20, local bottled water and purification company, White Water, will donate their first of five installments for distribution to homeless clients on the Human Services Campus, where CASS is located, and the City of Phoenix Police Department who hand out bottled water during their street outreach. By the end of the summer, White Water will have contributed a total of 26,250 bottles of water.
“White Water employees are proud of our commitment to help organizations like CASS who are on the front line providing comfort and support to our community’s residents” said Chris White, Founder and President of White Water. “We look forward to doing our part over the next five months to make CASS’ annual heat relief campaign a huge success.”
“We are thankful for the continued support of White Water. It is our hope that with the community’s support we can continue to keep homeless individuals and families safe during the summer months”, said Holleran.
CASS is asking the community to support the heat relief campaign by making monetary or in-kind donations of bottled water this summer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit cassaz.org for more information or to make a donation.