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As temperatures from climate change and the urban heat island continue to rise in Maricopa County, the most vulnerable ⁠— those who suffer the most ⁠— are people who don’t have the means to cool themselves or their homes. People who are unsheltered and spend most hours outdoors are at greater risk. As homelessness increases, the threat from heat increases as well.

Using trailers as mobile cooling centers may provide an affordable and effective solution. Properly retrofitted trailers, including systems to minimize air quality impacts, could increase the number of cooling opportunities open to residents. The mobility would provide flexibility to respond to changing community needs. HUE is testing this innovative solution with a pilot project with the City of Tempe.

One of the project’s priorities was to create a mobile cooling center that serves people where they are and considers that people experiencing homelessness may have mobility issues and other physical and social barriers that prevent them from accessing municipal services.

Another priority was to create a mobile cooling trailer that does not negatively impact the air quality. Therefore, the cooling center design eliminated the use of a polluting generator and substituted it with a greener solution. Solar Solutions.


  • Paul Bentley, City of Tempe
  • Sun Valley Solar Solutions



Health Urban Environments


August 2020 — Ongoing