Tempe to build resilience hub to provide safe space for residents during climate threats and other emergencies

The City of Tempe is developing an emergency response center where residents can get relief from the heat, and have access to other programs all year round.

The concept is known as a 'Resilience Hub.' There are over 100 such hubs across the country, providing a safe space for people in case of a natural disaster. However, the one Tempe is developing will be the first of its kind in Arizona.

Hub to help city deal with climate threat

The hub will be located at a 1,600 square foot space near Apache Boulevard and Dorsey Lane, and it will be called 'Envision'.

"It will be open for year-round community assistance, or help for times in which we experience a climate threat, where our residents could come to find relief," said City of Tempe Emergency Manager Michelle Seitz.

The number one climate threat in Arizona is heat. In 2020, Phoenix had the hottest summer on record, and over 500 heat-related deaths were reported.

"We want to protect our most vulnerable populations, such as our older population, children, people that are sick and that need help during extreme heat might not have access to air conditioning, so when it's 117 and it's evening, where do they go for relief?" said Seitz.

Federal funding to help build hub

The City of Tempe is investing $2.3 million in this center, mostly from city COVID relief and federal funding. They aim to open the hub in May, just before the summer.

"We want the hub to be a center in which they feel safe, and it's a trusted environment in which they can go to seek relief, but then also they can come to get education on emergency preparedness and community resiliency," said Seitz.

Aside from providing heat relief, Envision will be a space where Tempe residents will have access to educational classes and health care programs to meet community needs.

"We want them to feel like it's their own," said Seitz. "We want them to build it as their own, and from the bottom up, help us build it."

City of Tempe officials are looking to add more resilience hubs in the future to serve more people.

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