Photo: MultCo Communications via Flickr
Policy Solution

Community cooling centers

Funding and Financing


Summary: Cooling centers are public spaces with air conditioning available during extreme heat and heatwaves. Cooling centers are critical for vulnerable populations who may not have access to air conditioning at home.

Implementation: Leverage existing infrastructure such as libraries, senior centers, and places of worship to provide temporary cool shelter for members of the public during extreme heat. Steps may include 1) identifying appropriate structures (e.g. government-owned buildings); 2) allocating funding (e.g. through community benefits agreement or grant program), and 3) providing amenities (e,g. additional community services).

Considerations for Use: Consider transportation barriers for vulnerable populations when selecting cooling centers to ensure accessibility.

  • Policy Levers:

    Funding and FinancingThe allocation of public or philanthropic funding or private financing to implement projects, including risk transfer mechanisms.
  • Trigger Points:

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
  • Sectors:
    Disaster Risk Management  , Education, Informal Settlements, Public Health, Transportation


  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Heat-vulnerable communities, Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Emergency response and management
  • Metrics:
    Number of community members with access to cooling centers, Number of cooling centers


  • Intervention Scale:
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government, State/provincial government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    CBOs, City government, State/provincial government
  • Funding Sources:
    Grants and philanthropy, private investment, Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    High, Medium


  • Cost-Benefit:
  • Public Good:
  • GHG Reduction:
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Build community capacity, Build social cohesion, Improve human health