The summer heat has Virginians looking for ways to keep cool.
Different programs exist across the state to help provide fans or air conditioning units to those who may otherwise not be able to afford them.
One cooling assistance program is administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Qualifying Virginians can go to commonhelp.virginia.gov/access, call 855-635-4370 or contact their local department of social services.
Over 60,000 Virginians have applied for the program since it opened June 15, according to the department. Applications will close Aug. 15. The department has issued more than $38 million in cooling payments over that time — mostly in the form of $600 support for Dominion electric bills to operate fans and AC units.
To qualify, residences must have at least one person who is 60 or older or a person living with a disability or a child under 6. They must also have an household income at 150% of the federal poverty level for the family size.
Another program is meant to help Peninsula residents 60 and older.
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“This summer, the demand is much higher than last summer,” said Diane Hartley, vice president for care coordination for the Peninsula Agency On Aging. “Last summer, we were still handing out fans in September.”
The agency’s Senior Cool Care Program is sponsored by Dominion Energy and is meant to help older residents who can be most at-risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Qualifying residents must live in Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Williamsburg or in York or James City county, and have an income of less than $1,699 per month for one person and less than $2,289 for a two-person household.
As of the end of June, the program had handed out almost 100 fans and all their AC units, according to Hartley.
She said she knows they have about 30 fans available. Qualifying adults can call 757-873-0541.
For this weekend, Portsmouth announced it would open “cooling stations” at Churchland Branch Library and Portsmouth Public Library and at the Behavioral Healthcare Services Building at 1811 King Street today and tomorrow between 8 am and at the Department of Social Services building at 1701 High Street .
Water bottles were also distributed to Norfolk libraries by the city for the public, according to their Facebook page.