People unite to help those without A/C

August 5, 2011 10:32:47 AM PDT
From broken air conditioners to no air conditioning, many are suffering through this heat with little relief, but we found out that these tough times are bringing out the best in communities.

Many seniors in the Houston area are on fixed incomes, and when something like an A/C unit goes out, they often have don't have money to replace it. Luckily, some are helping them out.

The Sunnyside Multi-Service Center in southern Harris County also doubles as a cooling center.

Dozens of seniors needing a place to cool off are making the best of it with a game of bingo.

Ida Waters' central A/C unit went out seven days ago.

"All of a sudden, it was going out, but it was coming back, but it was out blowing warm air then it would come back to cool air and then all of a sudden, it just shut down completely," she said.

Even though Waters can take refuge in the cooling center during the day, they do shut down at night and temperatures still hover around 90 degrees in the evenings, so her fan is little help.

"It's like the heat is on really, because you're under the fan and you're just steadily sweating," Waters said.

Seniors at the multi-service center needing an A/C unit are on a waiting list, especially those who can't make it to the cooling centers.

"Some people can come to the cooling center, and some people cannot; they have to stay home. Some of them are homebound and they cannot get out," YWCA Coordinator Ella Hill said.

Waters is lucky; a Channel 13 viewer donated an A/C unit for a senior after seeing a heat-related story on Wednesday.

She was chosen by the YWCA and Precinct 7 Capt. James Phillips installed the window unit free of charge.

The triple-digit days also are putting a bigger demand on local nonprofits.

Neighborhood Centers Inc. has seen a dramatic increase in calls for assistance.

"Prior to the heat going up so high, we had about 10 to 15 clients coming in everyday applying; yesterday alone, we had 50 individuals come into and fill applications out," said Ariana Montelongo with Neighborhood Centers Inc.

And as the install is complete, Waters is just thankful for the generosity of an anonymous donor.

"I think that's a blessing and they're gonna get their blessing for doing what they're doing; when they give out, God's gonna give it back," she said.

We learned late Thursday afternoon, Phyllis Childs is the one who called the Precinct 7 Constables Office to donate that A/C. As you saw, it was put to good use.

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