In a summer of record temperatures, state and local leaders are working to keep residents safe in the scorching heat. For NewDEAL Leader and Phoenix, AZ, Mayor Kate Gallego, innovative solutions like city-wide cooling centers and regular water distribution help to curb the impacts of extreme heat for the most vulnerable community members. Collaboration with the federal government and local nonprofits has been instrumental in getting citizens, including those who live in homeless encampments, out of the streets and inside. Phoenix boasts over 60 cooling centers that provide shelter for those facing housing insecurity. “But my goal would be to get people inside in air-conditioned environments,” Gallego said of Phoenix’s long term plans.
In San Antonio, TX, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, a NewDEAL Leader, has fought to maintain local control as the Republican-controlled state legislature undermines safety initiatives that would protect workers from extreme heat. But there’s hope at the national level, Nirenberg noted in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation. Last week, at a virtual convening with Mayors Gallego, Nirenberg, and others, President Biden announced a $7 million spending plan from the Inflation Reduction Act for improved heat forecasting and a $152 million plan from the 2021 Infrastructure law for climate infrastructure in the southwest. “We’re certainly grateful for a president now that’s treating this heatwave with the urgency that I think is necessary,” Nirenberg said.