Social Services

Tarrant United Way launches summer heat relief program

As part of its mission to serve the local community in times of crisis, United Way of Tarrant County (UWTC) launched its third annual Beat the Heat program on the organization’s planned Day of Action with a goal of collecting and distributing 300 air conditioning units to help protect the most vulnerable populations against dangerous temperatures.

According to the Tarrant County Department of Health, Tarrant County experienced 17 deaths during the summer months last year, and most victims were found in homes without a working A/C unit. Tarrant County is among the top 10 Texas counties with the most heat-related deaths over the past 24 years, as reported by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

“The need is great in our community,” said Regina Williams, UWTC’s EVP and Chief Impact Officer. “Already we have nearly 100 of our neighbors on our list waiting for portable air conditioners, and our program is just starting. I cannot imagine surviving the Texas summer without A/C. We need the community’s support to help those who have limited resources.”

While there are other similar programs in the metroplex, the UWTC’s Beat the Heat program supplies portable window A/C units to those who qualify, regardless of whether they live in a home or apartment building. Recipients include older adults (60+), disabled individuals and income-constrained employed residents of Tarrant County.

“The summer months are especially challenging for our older adults and those with disabilities,” said Shakita Johnson, Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County’s executive director and UWTC Community Investment vice president. “Many do not have access to air conditioning or they cannot afford to turn on their central air-conditioning systems. The small A/C room and window units we are collecting and installing will keep our neighbors out of the dangerous heat, are less expensive to run and are easy to install for our volunteers.”

In 2023, thanks to the support from the community, UWTC distributed more than 270 A/C units and fans, many of which were installed by area fire departments, MedStar, other nonprofit agencies, and local faith-based groups.

A few organizations have already committed their time and resources to the 2024 program, including Central Market, United Healthcare, Trademark Properties, CarMax and Spartan Carrier Group. However, additional funds are needed to purchase more units, and volunteers are needed to help deliver and/or install the units to meet the need throughout the anticipated triple-digit heat of the summer.

The UWTC Beat the Heat program continues through September 30.

source: press release publishes every week.
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Barbara Clark Galupi