Rain is a blessing in the desert. But for those experiencing homelessness, summer monsoons can be dangerous. We spoke with drop-in visitors at Casa Paloma Women’s Hospitality Center and men from the Primavera Men’s Shelter about the unique challenges of being un-homed during summer monsoons. “I love monsoon. BOOM!” Mary Lou told me with a smile. “Free showers!” Theresa chimed in. “And swimming! We get to go swimming!” Abigail joked. But it’s not all fun.
When the rains come, many in the homeless community seek shelter in the tunnels near washes and underpasses. There’s camaraderie in those spaces – people looking out for each other to keep safe. And also danger. More people means more theft. It can be hard to keep track of your stuff. But the biggest worry is flooding. “You see stuff just floating away,” Theresa shared. And the floods have taken lives. “You can replace your stuff, but you can’t replace your life,” Mary Lou said. “After the rain is a different story,” Mr. Aranda from the Men’s Shelter said. “You’re walking down streets that are flooded. Your shoes and socks get wet. That’s the worst feeling in the world.” Clean, dry socks are essential to survival all year, but they are especially important during the summer monsoon. Wet belongings often require a long commute to get to a dryer, and clean, dry footwear is foundational. Other items that can make a difference are mosquito repellent, garbage bags to keep belongings dry, and clean drinking water. People experiencing homelessness turn to Primavera and other community-partner organizations for these essential needs. Here are some of the ways that Primavera supports our homeless community during the monsoon, and beyond:
- The Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (HIP) Drop-In Center provides wash stations, food boxes when available, bathrooms, hygiene supplies, clothing, and resource to anyone in need. We also work with community partners to provide health checkups, animal supplies, and more. The HIP Drop-In Center is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 am – 12:30 pm.
- The Casa Paloma Women’s Hospitality Center provides unaccompanied women with access to washers and dryers, meals, showers, hygiene supplies, clothing, resources, and respite Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 12 pm.
- The Primavera Men’s Shelter provides unaccompanied men with access to washers and dryers, meals, showers, hygiene supplies, clothing, resources, and respite to those who qualify for shelter.