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South Bay nonprofit working to keep unsheltered people cool during heat wave

Project Cool Zone provides a space in the shade for people to sit in with industrial-sized fans, providing much needed relief from the heat.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — With temperatures on the rise, CBS 8 spoke to one nonprofit in the South Bay focused on cooling down the unsheltered population.  

Community Through Hope (CTH) is a zero barrier drop-in center focused on providing wrap-around services to people who need them.

“Oh man, these people are beautiful, they make our lives much better. They treat us with a lot of respect and we all love coming here,” said Mike Perri, a client of CTH. “They provide services that are awesome, food every day, clothes when you need them, anything you ask for, help you get services.” 

On Monday, CTH started Project Cool Zone in the parking lot next to their office at 465 C St in Chula Vista, where people can sit in the shade under tents with industrial-size fans to cool them down.

“It’s a giant fan, it’s actually normally in our warehouse, but you can put water in it, so it slowly mists the area as well which is super helpful,” said CTH Executive Director, Sebastian Martinez. “They’ll also have access to food, cold refreshments, spray water bottles, ice packs, sunscreen, anything that kind of helps bring down the temperature.” 

Every Tuesday, two mobile showers are made available in the parking lot for what they call, “Project Refresh,” so people can clean up and cool down. 

“It’s really popular, it’s the only mobile shower program in the South Bay that’s weekly, so folks kind of plan their schedule around, ‘Let me go get my shower and then I’ll figure out the rest of my week,’” said Martinez. 

The nonprofit has been in operation for nearly five years now and with the sweltering temperatures on the rise this week, the staff at CTH is focused on helping anyone who needs it.

“It’s hard to get anything done when you’re unsheltered and having to deal with being outside, but having the added element of it being hot and trying to go from one place to another, it just really kind of brings people’s spirits down and our role is to lift them up if they can get cool and relaxed, so they can actually work on what they need to,” said Martinez. 

CTH will be keeping up the tents and fans for Project Cool Down for the rest of summer during their office hours, M-F 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Their services are open to all and no enrollment is required. 

WATCH RELATED: Blistering summer heat moving into San Diego deserts, mountains (July 2023).












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