Pop-up cool zone provides relief for homeless in East Village

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SAN DIEGO - A pop-up cool zone and water station for the homeless who live on the streets of East Village was scheduled to be set up Saturday afternoon near Petco Park by volunteers and community activists, as temperatures were expected to soar this weekend.

Former Assemblywoman and San Diego mayoral candidate Lori Saldana said the temporary shelter will be up from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the edge of Tailgate Park on the corner of 14th Avenue and L Street, where volunteers will provide water, ice and a place to rest in the shade.

Volunteers also plan to offer bandanas to be soaked in water and draped around necks or over heads for additional cooling.

``Not all of the women, children, men, seniors and their pets who are homeless have access to `cool zones' set up in local libraries, senior centers or other locations,'' Saldana said in a statement. ``They may not have the means to travel to those locations, or are not comfortable leaving their belongings and pets unattended while they are inside, so we are bringing a 'cool zone' to them.''

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch for San Diego County through Tuesday.

``As temperatures are predicted to climb into record territory in the coming days, many homeless families and individuals have no place to go this weekend, and some have lost their tents and personal belongings to recent City of San Diego/San Diego Police Department sweeps,'' Saldana said.

Organizers were accepting donations and supplies from anyone who would like to support this effort, to help homeless San Diegans have access to cold water and a safe place to rest. People wishing to donate can deliver ice, water, paper cups and trash bags for helping with cleanup to Tailgate Park. Bags of ice and paper cups are needed most.

There is one ``cool zone'' set up in downtown San Diego, at the new Central Library. Other cool zones in the county can be found at www.CoolZones.org.