When Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs declared a state of emergency in August, the concept of cooling centers were established. After only two weeks in operation, almost 600 people utilized the new systems.
First introduced on August 12, the cooling centers can be visited and used on weekends. They are open later than other centers located in the Valley — from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. — which has been beneficial in protecting unhoused people from the extreme heat in addition to those without working air conditioning at their own places of shelter. Still, they are not open overnight, and efforts to reform the hours could soon be in progress due to increasing demand.
This summer, Arizona faced three separate record-breaking heat streaks. There were consecutive days in which there were temperatures of 110° or greater and no precipitation for over 100 days. It was Arizona's longest heat wave ever experienced.
According to Axios Phoenix, "Maricopa County has confirmed more than 100 heat-related deaths in July and the medical examiner is investigating another 200-plus suspected heat deaths from the heatwave."
Gov. Hobbs also called for reimbursement of city and county expenses that are directly related to the heat as a part of the immediate relief strategy.