An inside look of the DHS Cooling Center located at 66290 Estrella

Homelessness numbers are in the rise throughout the state of California. It has been well documented that varying factors such as drug abuse and cost of living issues have and will continue to impact those without shelter. Many analysts have forecasted that the numbers will continue to rise, and although our numbers here in the valley are nowhere near as staggering as those in LA county for example, we do have a growing population of homeless here.

As we scramble for solutions, the residents of our great city are not only speaking out, but many can be seen offering a helping hand. One thing about DHS that is unlike any other city that I have lived in… the compassion. Over the last several years I have seen this city rally together to help students who needed assistance with funding for college, seniors who needed help with living expenses, and beyond. This summer however, I have seen unified effort in serving those that lie in our streets daily.

In July, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission opened the DHS cooling center. Located at 66290 Estrella, the center is open 7 days a week form 7pm-7am and currently averages 27 people nightly. This is amazing simply because without the center, these 27 people (a few children are among them) would more than likely find themselves sleeping outdoors in the middle of multiple heat waves. In addition to a nice cool place to sleep overnight, they are also provided with access to showers, storage for personal items, and peace of mind.

Occupants have access to showers and storage!!!

I asked some questions around town and social media this week, here are a few varied responses:

“I’d describe it [homelessness] as a rising epidemic with no end in sight for the rising numbers because numerous factors, drug addiction, addiction in general, spending habits, mental health and the economy. Without treating the underlying cause it’s hopeless. …It’s sad, problematic for many reasons, unfortunate and heart wrenching for many people to see. No one is perfect, you have to offer them help via programs and counseling or at least provide information on where to receive it…”

“You can’t function properly if you don’t have a stable place to live and steady income you just can’t think! They need housing first then jobs. Many cannot function even with those 2 crucial things and need mental health services first…”

“3-pronged approach… providing housing, provide counseling and support and educate the general public which seems to have so many misconceptions.”

“One family/person at a time. Each situation is unique, and our response must be individualized!!”

“We need a shelter that helps with permanent housing counseling and other mental health services… nothing too big like Coachella rescue mission… but our town does need something… it’s hard… not all homeless people are without jobs they just have to feed themselves and try to make it through… do any of you who are talking crap know how much it is to get a place .. coming from nothing to something is very very hard….”

The compassion shown by our city:

From speaking with CVRM staff and perusing social media, I have witnessed an outpouring of love! Our people, the people of DHS have shown up in a major. Many homeless who utilize the cooling center come with only the clothes on their backs. However, because of the generosity of many of you, they are given a much clothing as they need. Many have donated fresh linens and hygiene products. Lastly, there have been some that have volunteered their time to visit the center and speak with some of the occupants, to keep them company. I am so proud of DHS!!! We are a community of compassion!!!

More From Advancing Desert Hot Springs...

Once Again, DHS High Leads the Way!

By Kephyan Sheppard | September 15, 2019

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Principal Cota of Desert Hot Springs High School. Not only did she impress me, but based off of the responses I have received, she has impressed many of you. We are extremely fortunate to have what I believe to be the most innovative principal here in the…


By Kephyan Sheppard | August 31, 2019

What a beautiful time to be in DHS!!! The summer season is coming to a close, our version of Friday Night Lights will kickoff soon as our Golden Eagle Football team will soon take the field, and of course our beautiful view hiking trails will be prime for enjoyment. This week I asked a simple…

Danny Holt, “I Chose DHS!”

By Kephyan Sheppard | July 27, 2019

I really appreciate hearing from you! The response last week from our opening, “I Chose DHS” segment was so great that this week I have another one! A while back (In January), I was able to speak with Danny Holt, the accomplished classical musician who launched a series of classical music concerts here in DHS…

Dr. Sandra Lyon:Superintendent of PSUSD

By Kephyan Sheppard | July 6, 2019

As noted in previous publications, we believe that some of the finest schools in the valley are right here in Desert Hot Springs. I have had the honor of interacting on a majority of our campuses and it’s amazing to see educators who not only love to teach, but love the communities they teach in.…

Principal Caroline Cota: Shining Bright in Our City!

By Kephyan Sheppard | June 15, 2019

“The many experiences you had in school and in your community have stretched your mind to its current dimensions, but it is only the beginning. Whether you continue with formal education or not, you are not done learning. So as you go out into the world, take chances, travel, read, be open to other people,…

Mr. Randa – A Teacher Spotlight

By Kephyan Sheppard | June 8, 2019

I have been involved with Palm Springs Unified School District for over 5 years and I have seen firsthand that Desert Hot Springs has some of the finest teachers district wide. Mr. Doug Randa brings energy and passion to his students at Bella Vista Elementary school every day. Watching him around campus and even on…

Cabot Yerxa Elementary!!!!!

By Kephyan Sheppard | May 4, 2019

Meet Amber Gascoigne, Principal Rotary Big Hearts Principal of the Year “I love DHS because we are a community working hard to do better for our youth. I’d always “heard” about DHS and was terrified when I came to work up here. The truth is the families and community members are some of the kindest…

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About!!!

By Kephyan Sheppard | April 17, 2019

If you haven’t seen it, here it is! A few days ago, Advancing DHS landed on the front page of the Desert Sun! While we recognize the publicity as an honor, we also recognize it as a challenge due to the fact that many feel as if our vision is too grand. In addition to…

Bruce Craven, Author

By Kephyan Sheppard | March 29, 2019

Community News Bruce Craven, Author “I have worked in the education field and the writing field for most of my adult life. I teach a popular graduate, business school course called “Leadership Through Fiction”. This book developed from that class. The show “Game of Thrones” is an environment where leadership can be the difference between…

A School of Excellence!

By Kephyan Sheppard | February 23, 2019

Desert Hot Springs High School Welcome to Excellence        One of the many highlights in DHS just happens to be our high school. From our blossoming athletics department, to our award winning marching band, wonderful educators, and our brilliant students (last year’s valedictorian and salutatorian both had GPA’s over 4.2!!!) More than the aforementioned, being a…