"You do what you have to do to survive, moving with the shade just to stay cool," says Albert, who spent last summer on the streets. "Most of the time you're stuck sitting there because it's too hot to do anything."
Here in the Valley of the Sun, the mixture of dehydration, exposure to our relentless heat, and inadequate shelter can put someone in danger of heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes. Last year that mix proved deadly for 34 in Maricopa County - each life lost needless and entirely preventable.
Fortunately, for Albert, he was rescued off the streets before a massive heatwave, thanks to our P.A.R.C. Bench (Police and Rescue Collaboration) program - a partnership between the Phoenix Rescue Mission and the Phoenix Police Department. "I was sleeping under some trees behind the "At Home"store on 32nd street and Cactus when maintenance came by and told me, 'You had better pack up your stuff or I'm going to call police ... In fact, I'm going to call them right now." Albert hurriedly gathered his things, but he wasn't quick enough. Moments later, two police SUVs drove up to greet him.
"I thought, well this is it, I'm going to get locked up," remembers Albert. But instead of taking a trip in the back of a cruiser, the officers told Albert about a place called the Phoenix Rescue Mission. "I was like, 'Really?' I was expecting to go to jail or get a , 'Shoo, go, keep moving.' But instead they listened to my story and called Chaplain Cliff, who came to pick me up in the Hope Coach!"