Council to provide cooling assistance for elderly - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Council to provide cooling assistance for elderly

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May 31, 2006 

Albany-- You know Southwest Georgia can get extremely hot during the summer months. Often, older people suffer the most. Hot and humid weather can be life-threatening but there is a program to help them.    

It's not even summer yet but the bright, glaring sun is already making it feel like August.  That's not a good thing for 85-year-old Paul Weber.  He loves the outdoors.

"I'm devoted to playing golf," says Weber. A devotion altered lately.  A bad right knee has prevented him from hitting the links in more than a month so he's anxious to get back out before the heat gets too unbearable.

"When it gets hot like this, it's not any fun anymore," says Weber.

So for right now, he finds fun indoors and makes sure his thermostat stays on cool but not too cool.  He wants to watch his spending. "I generally have it set on 75," says Weber.

As temperatures get higher, units will be pumping more cool air into homes which means higher cooling costs, but there is financial help for those who need it the most. "Some people you know are just unfortunate," says Weber.

The Southwest Georgia Community Action Council has started their cooling assistance program.  Their first priority is the elderly and those who are homebound.  Here's what they'll provide if someone is approved. $220 to pay the household cooling vendor or the purchase of an air conditioning unit, a misting fan or two regular window fans.  But there are guidelines.

Households have to be the ones responsible for the cost of cooling their homes and meet income requirements. That income must be less than or equal to 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

"When I was young and we lived up in Iowa, we didn't have no air-conditioning, probably didn't use it," says Weber. This golf pro admits things have changed since then and says now is a good time if any for assistance.  It will give many the comfort of coming inside to a cool home.

"I think it's very good. I think it's real good," says Weber. To save money, he says he conserves but what would be even better for Paul is a healed knee and some lower temperatures so he can get back outside on the green.

Here's a closer look at those income guidelines.  A one-person household can't make any more than $14,355.  A two-person household can't make more than $19,245 and a home with three people can't have more than a combined income of $24,135.  

Elderly and homebound citizens can put in applications starting June 1st. Beginning June 12th, the program will open to the general public but funding is limited and on a first come first serve basis. For more information, call the Lee County Neighborhood Service Center at 229-759-2089.

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