As temperatures continue to climb, the excessive heat can be life-threatening. It is vital that everyone – particularly our seniors, children, and any New Yorker who works primarily outdoors for long periods of time – stay cool and hydrated.
Cooling centers throughout the city will open, beginning at 8AM. You can call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) to find a cooling center, including accessible facilities closest to you, online.
Face coverings must be worn at all times inside cooling centers, and attendees must adhere to social distancing guidelines of six feet or more. Cooling centers will also operate at limited capacity, such as senior center locations will be reserved for seniors. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, individuals are reminded to stay at home if they are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
During extreme heat, the Department of Social Services (DSS) issues a Code Red Alert, shelter is made available to anyone experiencing homelessness, and heat-related discomfort are also able to access a designated cooling area. Transportation to cooling centers is available via DSS outreach teams who engage with potentially homeless individuals every day of the year and intensify engagement during extreme heat.
Additionally, there are air conditioner options for seniors, differently-abled persons and low-income residents:
- All seniors or persons with mobility impairments living, or on life-sustaining equipment who do not already have an air conditioner and live in NYCHA buildings can expect a call from the GetCool Air Conditioner Program. If not, you can contact the NYCHA Customer Contact Center for further assistance at 718-707-7771, 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- The GetCool Air Conditioner Program for Non-NYCHA low-income seniors who pre-qualify based on their enrollment in City benefits programs. These seniors will be identified by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Department for the Aging (DFTA), the Human Resources Administration (HRA), and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
- The Human Resources Administration is also providing financial help to cover the cost and installation of an air conditioner or fan for low-income eligible households up to a cost of $800. Applicants are only eligible for a cooling assistance benefit once every five years. The deadline for applications is August 30, 2020 and air conditioners are provided to eligible applicants on a first come, first served basis.