The mission of the Skid Row Cooling Resources Group (SRCR) is to make sure that vulnerable residents of Skid Row, Los Angeles, many of whom are unhoused or living in spaces with inadequate air conditioning, are provided relief from heat exposure during the hottest summer months of the year. The SRCR Group created the idea for and now works to support pop-up “Cooling Canopies” with amenities including mist, water, cold beverages, ice and sunblock.
The Skid Row Cooling Resources (SRCR) Group formed to proactively address health threats arising from expected high temperatures during summer 2021. The SRCR Group is a coalition of individuals and organizations with expertise in local environmental issues, healthcare, social services and human rights. The SRCR Group is committed to working with public and private partners in order to develop an effective strategy for combating the impacts of climate change on the community of Skid Row.
Cooling Canopy Map
A Unique Model
With many local service providers operating at limited capacity due to the pandemic, cooled indoor spaces are limited – yet needed more than ever. In addition to providing crucial venues for cooling off during summer months, the Cooling Canopies will provide much needed community space where individuals can relax and safely engage with one another. Cooling Canopies will provide the following:
Mist – Water – Cold Beverages – Ice – Sunblock
Skid Row & the Urban Heat Island Effect
Skid Row residents face extreme conditions in their neighborhood during the hottest months of the year due to its built environment – which comprises 50 square blocks. The neighborhood averages only 3.5% tree canopy coverage (vs. the recommended 15%). Access to water can also be a challenge for the over 2,000 unhoused people of the community. Skid Row currently has 9 publicly accessible water fountains, most of which were recently installed. The Skid Row Refresh Spot is one location where water and hygiene services are accessible to the public 24/7 – the SRCR Cooling Canopies builds upon this community-inspired and designed model to expand hydration and cooling access to more people.
Heat islands are defined by the EPA as urbanized spaces that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas (ranging from 1º-7º warmer than surrounding domains). A high concentration of structures, exposed concrete and minimal shade – all prominent elements of Skid Row’s built environment – intensify heat islands’ effects. This increase in temperature during Los Angeles’ hotter months can make a significant impact on the health and safety of unsheltered Skid Row residents. September 2020’s heat waves saw Downtown temperatures as high as 111º; with heat island effects, this high was estimated to be closer to 118º. In conditions that are already life-threatening when access to water and respite from the sun are scarce, the heat island effect can put individuals at further risk of hyperthermia.