Free air conditioning units will help cool all Opportunity Home tenants by end of June

Free air conditioning units will help cool all Opportunity Home tenants by end of June

SAN ANTONIO – Summer is nearly here, and as temperatures rise, so does the discomfort level for area residents who don’t have air conditioning. A new program will place a couple thousand free window units in public housing communities.

The Pin Oak Apartments on San Antonio’s northwest side are a 50-unit public housing community for the elderly and disabled. These are the people who are most likely to suffer significant health problems if forced to live without air conditioning.”

“It’s going to get crazy hot,” said Pin Oaks resident Mercy Guzman. “I’m sure it’s going to be a blessing to many, many people.”

Boxes were stacked up in a front room at Pin Oaks as workers began the process of installing a window unit in every apartment. The work will spread to 22 Opportunity Home San Antonio complexes. About 2,500 apartments will get the AC units.

The $1.5 million project, spearheaded by Texas state representative Diego Bernal, is a joint effort by Opportunity Home, the City of San Antonio and local developer Gordon Hartman.

Rather than wait for federal money from the Housing and Urban Development department, local officials have chosen to beat the summer heat and begin the installation process now.

Oddly, HUD requires heat in government-subsided housing, but not air conditioning, according to David Nisivoccia, Opportunity Home’s president and CEO.

“We’re happy that all our units are going to have heat and AC, so we cover both ends of the temperature spectrum,” Nisivoccia said .

The goal is have all of the units installed by the end of June “to ensure that the people who are most impacted by the heat, the people that don’t have AC, have it when it gets the hottest it can be.”

When the installation program is complete, all 6,000 of Opportunity Home’s local housing units will be air conditioned.

“It’s a great initiative,” Nisivoccia said.

David Nisivoccia is president and CEO of the Opportunity Home San Antonio. (SBG photo)

Even though temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-80s this week, the misery level for people living in subsidized homes without air conditioning will be severe from June to September. That’s when the average highs range from 92 to 96 degrees.

To help assisted-living tenants who pay their own utility bills, CPS Energy is providing a small rebate. A series of 14 public meetings are also planned to provide tips to residents who on best practices for window unit usage.

Guzman had her thermostat set at 62 degrees today, but insisted that was just to cool off her apartment.

“I don’t plan to keep it at 62,” she said.

Workers are installing window AC units this week for all 50 residents at the Pin Oak Apartments. (SBG photo)

Click here for information about Opportunity Home housing options.