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Heat hits the homeless

The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission is a place to cool off and call home when you don’t have one.

“I’ve only been here a week, and this has really been a life saver for me. If it wasn’t for this place, I don’t know what I’d do,” Glenda Amos said.

“Our house burned in November, and we’ve been struggling ever since then,” Melissa Castro said.

Melissa Castro, her husband and their five kids call the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission their home, and with triple digits outside, the cool is a blessing.

“I thank God for air conditioning every time I’m in here,” Castro said.

Amid the rising temperatures, the Rescue Mission offers cooling centers and overnight shelter for the homeless. The last three weeks particularly have been brutal heat-wise, and thus the center has been packed.

“It’s really a health issue out there for people living in encampments and camps,” Coachella Valley Rescue Mission Executive Director Darla Burkett said.

During the day, the facility offers air conditioning, showers, clean clothes and food and water.

There are 75 beds for people to sleep in, and they have all been full every night.

People have to sign up for the in-high-demand air conditioned sleep area – starting at 4:00 every day.

“We have been known to take a few extras, yes, because it’s really hard to turn someone away when it’s this miserable outside,” Burkett said.

More beds would help, but Burkett said at $350 each, and with a budget cut in half this year, more beds isn’t an option.

The center always takes donations – towels and food are particularly a need right now – so it can continue to change lives.

“It’s been really hard to get back on our feet, and this place has given us a chance,” Castro said.

KESQ News Team


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