With summer fast approaching, those who are elderly, disabled or have health issues can be severely negatively affected by the heat. Programs run by states, charities and utilities often offer free air conditioners for those who qualify, but it is important to apply early as funds and AC units are often limited.
New York State will offer free window air conditioners to low-income residents with heat-related health issues beginning May 1 part of the Cooling Assistance Component of the New York Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
In June 2013, Memphis Light, Gas & Water (MLGW) partnered with the Neighborhood Christian Center to give free air conditioning units to low-income seniors and disabled residents part of the “Play It Cool” program.
The Houston Department of Health and Human Services and Reliant Energy also distributed 100 portable air conditioners to Houston seniors and the disabled in need of relief from the heat in June 2013.
If you are a senior or know someone that would benefit from a free air conditioner, you can always contact these organizations to inquire if a similar program will be offered this year. Usually to qualify, applicants must meet age, income or health-related guidelines.
For the New York State program, applicants must meet income-guidelines and have a household member whose medical condition is impacted by extreme heat, along with documentation from a health care provider. AC units will be available on a first come, first serve basis May 1 – August 29 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
When calling for information, be sure to also inquire whether the unit will be installed or if someone needs to pick up the unit from a location. The program in NY offers installation of the unit by a participating Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) vendor, but residents will be responsible for the maintenance, care, removal and storage of the unit after installation.