Code Red

Give relief from deadly summer heat

Homeless men, women and children in our community suffer in the intense summer heat. When temperatures reach triple digits, life on the streets goes from unbearable to deadly. Our homeless neighbors need help now. Your summer gift will bring immediate relief with bottled water, meals and safe shelter from the heat.


Code Red Water Drop-Off Locations:

Help provide
400,000 bottles
of water this summer

More ways you can help:

“110-115 degrees. It gets that hot and even hotter. It’s too hot to sleep. Too hot to do anything. I’m surprised I’ve even survived.”

“After you haven’t had a shower for a day, it gets pretty miserable. You look for anyplace to get some water – even a hose. You start to feel like you have less value than a bug on the ground.”

“Just turn off the AC in your car and drive around for an hour with the windows rolled up. Then you’ll get a good idea of what it’s like to be homeless in this heat.”

The body’s response to extreme heat

When temperatures remain high for more than 48 hours, our bodies go into overdrive. We escape the heat in air-conditioned cars and homes, stay out of the sun, and drink plenty of water.

But our homeless neighbors have nowhere to escape from the blazing Phoenix summer sun.

They’re at risk for serious illness — and even death!





The Brain and Nervous System

In Phoenix’s intense summer heat, a person’s body temperature can rise in minutes. Body temperatures above 104 degrees are dangerous for the brain.

The brain sends distress signals to the entire body.

Here are some signs you’ve had too much heat and sun:

  • dizziness
  • throbbing headache
  • fainting
  • confusion
  • unconsciousness

*By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

The Heart and Circulatory System

Heat can send an already overworked heart into crisis. If a homeless man or woman already suffers from high blood pressure and heart disease, heat can kill.

Body temperatures affect circulation. Indicators of heat-related heart stress are:

  • rapid pulse
  • shallow breathing
  • red, hot, dry skin

Stomach and Intestines

In normal weather, our bodies need 2 liters of water a day. When it’s hot, we need twice that. That’s 8 regular-sized bottles of water a day!

Heat cramps hit the abdomen and legs hard when we haven’t had enough water.

Nausea and vomiting are signs of heat exhaustion.

Feet and Other Extremities

Phoenix pavement can hit 200 degrees in the hottest time of day.

As blood circulates to the extremities of our bodies and returns to the heart, our body temperatures rise.

Heat swells the feet and makes wearing shoes uncomfortable. Sometimes the swelling can be painful and can signal a more serious health problem.

Our most vulnerable population

The elderly and those already suffering from other illnesses are the most vulnerable to excessive heat. Their bodies don’t regulate temperature as they should.

Many of the homes that surround the Mission are occupied by senior citizens who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Their homes’ air conditioners or swamp coolers don’t function well or at all. They don’t consume enough liquids and although indoors, are at risk of dehydration. In fact, last year more than 40 heat related deaths were attributed to senior citizens, who expired in homes where the temperature exceeded 90 degrees.

Heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, and drug and alcohol use increase the risks of dehydration. Medications often carry a warning label to avoid the sun while taking them, and they require a higher intake of liquids.

“110, 115 degrees. It gets that hot here, and even hotter,” Dave says. “I’m surprised I even survived it. I almost gave up a few times.”

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