'It's not easy on us'; Record-breaking heat putting Tucson's homeless in peril
By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Jun 2, 2014
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In Tucson, as in ever city, there are those who live day in and day out with no guaranteed escape from the scorching sun.
Monday, the city's homeless spent the day dodging the sun and hiding from the heat, but many worry those tactics are not enough, especially when you consider Summer has only just begun.
It didn't take our cameras long to find dozens, literally, hiding in the shadows.
"It's not easy on us people," said one man, dubbed Little Hawk.
He has been homeless in Tucson for 8 years and 8 summers.
The heat never got to him until recently.
"The heat could cause a stroke. I had one a couple months ago," he said. "And after that I had a mild heart attack."
Now as the triple digits set in, Little Hawk and others worry places of refuge with water and air conditioning will be few and far between.
It's a fear with which this group is familiar.
Just a few months back, Gem Show preparations caused dozens to be booted from downtown parks, but, while that was allegedly image-based, this say local non-profits is a matter of life and death.
"With the weather getting this intense, we realized we needed to stay open later for people," said Renee Bibby, of the Primavera Foundation.
Heads there kept their 6th Avenue cooling center open for four extra hours Monday, something Holden Veteto appreciates.
In an effort to get off the streets, he's traveling Tucson handing out job applications, largely on foot.
"The heat is intense," he said. "You put me in 32 degree weather, I'll go out there and conquer the world, but you know you hit 108, i'm like, I'm not used to this."
Primavera's is one of several cooling centers opening for Tucson's homeless this summer.
-Casa Paloma: Open M-F, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Call 882-0820 for directions.
-COPE Lifestyle Improvement Center: Open M-F 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 732 N. Stone Avenue.
-COPE Women's Center: Open M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 101 S. Stone Avenue.
-Eon Youth Lounge: M-F, 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. 7th St. near 4th Avenue.
-LFC/RAPP: M-F, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 1101 E. Broadway Blvd, Suite 130
-St. Francis Cooling Center at Central City Assembly Church: M-Sat, 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 939 S. 10th Avenue
-Sonora House: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 1367 W. Miracle Mile