(WYTV) – You won’t be seeing cooling stations around the Valley this summer because of COVID-19, but there are other alternatives to stay safe and cool.
For some people, cooling centers are a must when it’s hot and humid but now they don’t have that option.
“Unfortunately, we can’t open as a cooling center because we don’t want the people in the building. It’s not safe for them and not safe for us,” said Ruth Cline, with the Salvation Army in Warren.
This is the busiest time of year for the Salvation Army on Franklin Street SE, especially when the heat is at its peak.
“In previous years, we set them up in our activity room and we would have a couple TVs on stands in there. Of course, water, snacks, Gatorade and things like that for them,” Cline said.
The Trumbull County Action Program has a way for those who qualify to get a free A/C unit or fan. It started its summer crisis program this month.
Sarah Edmond, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) coordinator, said the calls have been endless since last year.
“December, we’ve been getting calls. Last month in June, we’ve been getting triple calls, only because they know it starts in July.”
With the virus outbreak, the process to get an A/C unit or fan has changed.
“Normally, we would have air conditioners and fans here. This year, we will not and do not have any. We made arrangements with Lowe’s in Niles for them to go directly there,” Edmond said.
You can learn more about this program on TCAP’s website. If you live in Mahoning County, a similar program is available through the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership. In Columbiana County, the program is through the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County.
Cassandra Valentini, agency community liaison for Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, said they’re also experiencing a high volume of calls. She said even though cooling centers are closed, people have other options.
“You can try to go to, potentially, a mall. I know a lot of libraries are opening up, sometimes even an outdoor, shaded park or even the rec centers.”
Cline said the Salvation Army is still encouraging people to stop by for some water throughout the day.