Home Beating the extreme heat: Funds available for AC for families in public housing

Beating the extreme heat: Funds available for AC for families in public housing

Crystal Graham
woman inside her home with hand fan
(© ViDi Studio – stock.adobe.com)

Utility allowances have been increased to immediately help families living in public housing stay cool during extreme heat this summer.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced new guidance today to help families afford to cool their homes – impacting nearly 1.6 million residents living in public housing nationwide.

The new options allow Public Housing Authorities, or PHAs, to increase utility allowances for residents or forgo surcharges for the use of cooling so that residents may use air conditioning during periods of severe heat.

“We must protect the health and safety of our families during increasingly severe weather events, like extreme heat, that can cause grave harm and even death to any member of our community.” said Adrianne Todman, Acting Secretary. “As we transition into the summer months, the need for public housing residents to access necessary cooling systems is vital and we are assertively taking these steps in the fight against extreme heat.”

Extreme heat greatly impacts all people and is the leading cause of weather-related deaths every year.

“Home should be a place of comfort, and nobody should have to risk heat-related illness residing in their own home,” said Richard Monocchio, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing.

“This notice makes it as easy as possible for PHAs to help individuals and families in public housing afford air conditioning and reinforces PHAs ability to create cooling centers for residents in public housing. We are providing maximum local control and decision-making for an issue that impacts more and more communities across the country each year.”

PHAs can choose to provide relief to any family in public housing that requests it for excess utilities charges due to severe or extreme heat. The new guidance helps PHAs respond rapidly to the threat of heat events and makes it easier for residents to request relief.

HUD defines extreme heat as a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for a minimum of two to three days.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.

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