City of Tucson Opens New Cooling Center as Summer Heats Up

Published on June 20, 2024

COOLtainer at the Amazon Shelter

The City of Tucson has opened a new cooling center to help individuals escape the punishing heat by providing people with a safe and comfortable place to recover and relax.

Two new “COOLtainers,” provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the governor’s office, were placed at the Amazon Shelter, 1135 W. Miracle Mile, to provide a restful place for people to get out the sun and heat. The Amazon is a shelter operated by the Housing First Division of the City of Tucson’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

“We want people to come take advantage of the amazing air conditioning, cool down, re-hydrate, and relax,” said Allison Chappell, the Community Services Manager at the Amazon Shelter.

The Amazon cooling center will be available from 12-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It will operate until Aug. 31. In addition to the pods, HCD’s portable shower will be available at Amazon but that schedule has not yet been set.

People who need an escape from the heat can go directly to the cooling center which is located immediately west of the shelter. Inside the “quiet COOLtainer” there will be cots for individuals to nap or rest.  Both COOLtainers have television and staff is working on securing internet service for people to access Wi-Fi on their devices.  In the second COOLtainer there are board games, dominos, cards, adult coloring books, snacks, and hygiene items. 

The new cooling site adds to six existing City of Tucson centers:

  • Donna Liggins Center, 2160 N. 6th
  • El Pueblo Center, 101 W. Irvington Rd., Building #9
  • El Rio Center, 1390 W. Speedway Blvd.
  • Freedom Center, 5000 E. 29th
  • Morris K. Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
  • Randolph Center, 200 S. Alvernon Way.

These six cooling centers are open until August 31, from noon to 4 p.m., daily, and closed on holidays.

In addition, the St. Francis Shelter is operating a cooling center at the Ward 3 Office, 1510 E. Grant Rd., Monday through Friday, 1-5 p.m.

Cooling Center Locations in Tucson

The Pima Medical Examiner’s Office recorded 46 heat-related deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness between June and October in 2023. The deaths were related to heat exposure as either the primary cause of death or a significant contributing factor.

The City of Tucson’s Housing First program operates street outreach, housing navigation, emergency shelter, and permanent supportive housing programs for people experiencing homelessness. All services provided by the Housing First Program are low-barrier and center permanent housing solutions as the primary goal of services.

Summer Heat Safety Tips

Plan your day. Avoid going out during the peak heat hours and wear sunscreen.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and bring a reusable water bottle with you when you leave the house.

Dress accordingly. Bring a hat or umbrella with you when you leave the house. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes.

Check in on your neighbors. People may be more at risk during the heat, such as older adults, people who are pregnant or sick, or children.

Beware of heat-related illness. Call 911 if you are experiencing high body temperature, vomiting, and pale or clammy skin.

Hot cars can be deadly. Don't leave children or pets unattended in a car.

Keep cool. Go to an air-conditioned place, park, or pool.

For information about the COOLtainers, contact Megan Rose, Statewide Communications, Arizona Department of Administration, Megan.rose@azdoa.gov or (602) 826-5406.

For additional information on the City of Tucson’s cooling centers, visit the HCD website. Other resources for summer assistance can be found on the websites for the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness and Pima County.