PHOENIX (July 21, 2014) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an excessive heat warning for Maricopa County for later this week.
On average, CASS provides shelter to over 900 men, women and children each night. During extreme heat conditions, the agency can see up to 200 additional individuals every night in need of shelter, a 22% increase in demand
“When excessive heat warnings are issued, escaping the elements can become a matter of life and death for the homeless in Maricopa County. We do not turn anyone away during these times”, said Mark Holleran, CEO of CASS.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are a fact during Arizona summer months. State records show that each year nearly 2,000 people visit Arizona emergency rooms due to heat-related illnesses. Between 2000 and 2012, there were more than 1,500 deaths from exposure to excessive heat in the state.
The nearly 8,000 men, women and children experiencing homelessness in the Valley are particularly vulnerable during the summer months. Their exposure to the summer’s extreme 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 Holleran. “Our approach to keep homeless individuals and families safe embraces three efforts: open additional emergency shelter; distribute heat relief health kits; and provide bottled water to anyone in need”, he continued.
Providing these additional public health and safety services for the Valley is challenging making community support critical.
“We are thankful of the generosity we receive each summer from the community. As the temperatures continue to rise, it is our hope that through continued support, we can keep homeless individuals and families safe again this summer”, said Holleran.
CASS is asking the community to support the heat relief campaign by making a monetary donation. Keep homeless men, women and children safe this summer by visiting cassaz.org/give.
Ending homelessness in Phoenix has been at the heart of our work since 1984. Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) is the largest provider of emergency shelter and supportive services for the homeless in Arizona. Our mission is to empower men, women and children with diverse needs to end their homelessness by providing shelter and supportive services. For more information, please visit www.cassaz.org.