Pop-up ‘Heat Relief’ hub to provide respite from soaring temperatures

Released on 30th January 2024

cohealth has partnered with the City of Melbourne to establish a new pop-up Cooling Relief Centre in Melbourne’s CBD – giving people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerabilities a place for respite on days of exteme heat.  

The Centre will be open to anyone who needs it, and no-one will be turned away, says cohealth, with people living in poor housing, international students, the elderly, and people without homes among those cohealth expects to welcome to the space. 

During heat events the Cooling Relief Centre, located at 227 Bourke St, will become a cool, welcoming space with access to health workers, cold refreshments and ice packs.  Vouchers to attend other cool and air-conditioned places such as movies and swimming pools will also be available. 

cohealth, a not-for-profit community health centre providing healthcare to people facing disadvantage, says extreme weather has serious health impacts on people experiencing homelessness, and that this summer has brought with it a “double whammy” of both floods and anticipated high temperatures. 

“Just as we’ve finished helping our communities deal with the health impacts of recent floods, we are steeling ourselves for impending heatwaves,” said Angelika Broederlow, cohealth Director, Community Mental Health and Homelessness Responses. 

“Extreme heat can lead to severe dehydration and exacerbate chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and asthma, and can affect the way that medications work,” said Ms Broederlow. 

“People who sleep rough or who are living on the fringes of society don’t have a place to shelter from extreme heat, or live in substandard accommodation that provides little protection.  

“Marginalised people may not feel welcome, or able, to access cool places such as shopping centres and cinemas, so the pop-up cooling centre is a practical way to combat this inequity,” Said Ms Broedlerlow. 

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said: “We’re making sure that our most vulnerable residents have places to keep cool this summer.” 

“This Cooling Relief Centre on Bourke Street will be a safe, central and welcoming space where community members who are experiencing homelessness can access refreshments and enjoy some respite from the heat.”  

The Cooling Relief Centre is just one of a raft of initiatives that the City of Melbourne is implementing as part of its heat action strategy.  

 Council provides a variety of tools and resources to help Melburnians beat the heat – including an interactive Cool Routes map, handing out Cool Kits packed with hot day essentials and extending opening hours during heat events at Library at the Dock, Kathleen Symes and narrm ngarrgu. 

The City of Melbourne is also transforming the city into a green oasis to help combat extreme heat. 

Council aims to increase the city’s tree canopy cover to 40 per cent by 2040 by planting 3,000 trees per year, increasing the number of green roofs and vertical greening and encouraging the greening of private land. 

For more information please visit cohealth and City of Melbourne. 

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More on cohealth:  

cohealth is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all.  cohealth provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.  

More information: media@cohealth.org.au or 0499 101 638

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