SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of the city’s poorest families will now be getting air-conditioning thanks to a vote by San Antonio City Council Thursday morning, and by a generous donation by a local philanthropist.
It’s no question that we’re having some wonderful weather right now, but all that’s going to change in a few weeks when we start getting into triple-digit temperatures.
Texas state representative Diego Bernal helped spearhead this initiative.
According to Bernal, of the 6,000 units run by the San Antonio Housing Authority or Opportunity Home about 2,600 don’t have air-conditioning. I’m told some of these units are very old and never had designs to get central air, while others are newer but still don’t have wall units.
The people who live in these units include single mothers, veterans and the disabled.
The money to pay for the new wall units that will be installed is coming from grants and also $300,000 from philanthropist Gordon Hartman.
“When you start looking at the numbers of people who are calling EMS during the months of July and August because of heat exhaustion and other issues in these units you have to say hey there’s got to be a better way,” Hartman said.
Federal guidelines for public housing don’t include heat or air conditioning, and it’s federal money that keeps public housing maintained.
The next step is the bidding process to buy window air-conditioning units and get a contractor to install them.
City officials hope they can be purchased and installed before summer.