Some Arizona cooling centers are using old border wall shipping containers

Several cooling centers are going up across Arizona just in time for another one of our brutal infamous summers.

Some of those centers are made of old shipping containers that used to be part of the border wall separating Mexico and the U.S.

A steel box sits at the corner of 19th Avenue and Adams Street, and in the summer months, it’s a lifesaver for homeless people like Michael and his puppy Midnight.

"I think it’s important because if we didn’t have it, I think a lot of people would die of heat exhaustion," he said.

Inside, a cold drink or two awaits, along with a small snack and pet food.

Mostly, it's a place to rest at room temperature.

Tina Thomas came inside from the 110-degree outdoor oven.

"I am more or less out there by myself, somewhere sitting by a tree and reading my bible, just praying that we can get through the day," she said.

The cooling center is an old shipping container. It’s been repurposed and runs on solar energy.

This is part of Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs' Executive Order on Extreme Heat Planning and Preparedness and Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan.

At the heat relief center, a security guard is on standby and is run mostly by volunteers from the Arizona Faith Network.

Arene Rushdan, a registered nurse who is volunteering through Arizona Faith Network, doesn’t quit at creature comforts. She tries to offer long-term help for those who come to seek shelter from the heat.

"I always welcome them here, but I say, ‘Next year, I don’t want to see you because I’d like to see you in a better position,’" Rushdan said.

Life on the streets is a struggle on any given day, and somehow Tina Thomas has survived it for 20 long years.

"I have my good days and I have my bad days," she said. "Take one day at a time. That’s all we can do."

A struggle made even worse in the summer under the unforgiving Arizona sun.

Cooling centers will be set up across Arizona – click here for more information on them.

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news:

More on where the containers came from

In summer 2022, then Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the containers to be used as a makeshift border wall to ease illegal immigration.

The U.S. Department of Justice then sued Ducey and other Arizona officials, saying the wall interfered with federal control of the land along the international boundary.

Ducey agreed months later to remove the container wall shortly before his term ended, saying it had been envisioned only as a temporary measure.  

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, who took office in January, had criticized the container wall as a political stunt.