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Vulnerable populations struggling in the Arizona heat

Cooling centers offers temporary relief when open
Posted: 6:16 PM, Jun 08, 2022
Updated: 2022-06-09 07:19:54-04
Homeless in the heat

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As temperatures rise across Arizona most will find ways to stay inside. However, not everyone has that option.

"Out here you have to adjust," Roy Velasquez, who lives on the streets of Tucson said. "You have to chase the shade and stay hydrated. We drink tons of water. We are constantly drinking water."

Velasquez and his wife will often head to the Circle K to fill up his water cup. He uses one Styrofoam cup around his plastic cup to keep it cold.

"We keep them full we fill them up probably five, six times a day," Velasquez said. "Nothing works better than water."

They typically move around parks, but that is not always easy as the sun moves.

Homeless in the heat
Roy Velasquez and his wife are homeless in Tucson, Az where temperatures are reaching 100 degrees or more now that summer has arrived. High temps present new challenges to their survival day to day.

"You got to adjust to it," Velasquez added. "It's hard."

They said that sometimes they will take advantage of the county's cooling centers; however not all are open right away. Many only open when temperatures reach 110 degrees.

For a list of all the cooling centers around the county, visit the pima.gov Cooling Centers website..

"My wife and I are good, so we just want to make the best of things," Velasquez said. "She does something; we both go. I got to do something; we both go. We don't leave each others sides."

There are also several steps you can take when you are outside to stay safe, including staying cool, staying hydrated, planning ahead and checking the daily forecast. For a full list of advice on staying safe outdoors in the Arizona heat visit the pima.gov Beat the Heat website.

Know the signs for heat exhaustion and heat stroke

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Greg Bradbury is a reporter for KGUN 9. Greg is a graduate of Syracuse University where he studied Broadcast Journalism and Spanish. Greg joined KGUN 9 in February 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist after working at the ABC National Desk as a Digital News Associate. Share your story ideas and important issues with Greg by emailing greg.bradbury@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.