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How Phoenix is preparing to protect people who are homeless from the heat

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 11:00am
Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 12:21pm

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A view of "The Zone" in downtown Phoenix
Chad Snow/KJZZ
A view of "The Zone" in downtown Phoenix on May 15, 2023.

The summer heat is upon us. And, while it’s not 110 out yet, we all know what’s coming. And that means Arizona officials are bracing for the challenge of preventing heat-related deaths this summer — especially for people experiencing homelessness. 

Last summer, David Hondula started up the first Office of Heat Response and Mitigation in the country in Phoenix. This summer, he’s back with lessons learned and a slate of new programs ready. 

Hondula says whether it’s a record-breaking summer or one with a great monsoon, just how hot this summer will be doesn’t really matter — at least when it comes to heat-related deaths. In fact, last summer, Maricopa County saw record heat-related deaths, and Hondula says that had almost nothing to do with how much more hot the city was.

The Show talked with Hondula recently to talk more about what to expect this summer — and what the city’s doing to prepare.

david hondula
Arizona State University
David Hondula

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