As NYC gives at-risk seniors AC units, Philly asks them to find relief in a neighbor’s home

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Contributed date

July 20, 2020 - 12:19pm

Critical Commentary

This article discusses heat vulnerability through the story of an elderly couple with chronic illness living in Philadelphia and Philadelphia's cooling resources compared to the plan that New York City is rolling out. Officials in Philadelphia are calling for collaborations across private utility companies, nonprofits, and government offices in order to provide vulnerable residents with the resources that they need to endure the upcoming heat waves.

"Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy said Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration recognizes the need for extra resources to keep people vulnerable to the heat safe. He said officials are working with nonprofits, PECO and private entities to provide fans and other “heat relief” and “cooling agents.”

"A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Nichole L. Tillman said she was unaware of any plans to work with City Hall to provide heat relief for public housing residents beyond the efforts PHA already has in the works. The agency does not “have the resources to provide air conditioners during the pandemic,” she said."

Erika Almirón, former executive director of Latinx community nonprofit Juntos and former candidate for City Council, said the lack of resources allocated by the city to protect residents from heat shows how vulnerable populations are left behind. “It’s unfortunate that during a pandemic, in our city, the people are forced to figure out how to survive. With the humidity we have had, days that have reached over 100 degrees. For seniors, this is life-threatening. And so is contracting COVID, if you’re older,” she said.

Group Audience

Cite as

WHYY, "As NYC gives at-risk seniors AC units, Philly asks them to find relief in a neighbor’s home", contributed by Morgan Sarao, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 20 July 2020, accessed 27 May 2024.’s-home