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Cooling Centers open around the Coachella Valley because of excessive Summer heat

Temperatures around the Coachella Valley have finally hit the triple digits, and local cooling centers around town are opening to keep residents safe this summer.

"Across the whole county, there are 70 around the county," said Mike Walsh, Assistant Director of the Riverside County Housing Workforce Solution. "They span all the way from Blythe to Idlewild, and there are roughly around 20 or so around the Coachella Valley.”

The centers are a place for people to cool off, be safe, and reduce home utility costs for residents while conserving energy. They're particularly helpful for vulnerable populations, which include the elderly, young children, disabled resident, and families who may be considered low-income. Cooling centers open up when temperatures reach 97-degrees or higher.

Many of them officially opened up on June 1st, and are operated by Riverside County. They oftentimes have hours ranging between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.

When asked why centers don't stay open past those hours, the county says they are at the mercy of their partners, however, it is a problem they hope to work on in the future.

"We work with the cities, as well as desert Recreation District and local churches," said Walsh. "So we're also depending on their availability. This is a common refrain that we hear from folks every year, and we're trying to work with them as best we can."

Many centers do provide folks with water and snacks if they need them.

The City of Indio is also operating a cooling center in partnership with the county. That one is open for poeple 50 and older.

"We have a great center here," said Jim Curtis, the Community Services Manager for the City of Indio. "We have a great TV room, we have a library, actually that they can visit as well. And also, if they have pets, we have kennels for the pets. Come on into our senior center and come on into one of the cooling centers. Hang out for a little while, a couple hours, three or four hours when it's really hot in the middle of the day, and just relax and have a great time.”

Click here to see a list of cooling centers around the county.

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Tori King


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