This summer is predicted to be hotter than normal and COVID-19 is making it more important than ever to be able to safely cool down at home. Extreme heat can cause dangerous illness and in some cases death. However, due to COVID-19 social distancing needs, a number of usual group cooling options, like cooling centers, will not be available this summer.
As one response to increasing heat risk, the City is collecting donations of new, packaged air conditioners or box fans during a one-time donation drive on Saturday, June 27, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Department of Public Works Yard, 1 Franey Rd. The Somerville Council on Aging will distribute the donated cooling equipment to Somerville seniors on the basis of medical and financial need. If you’d like to donate, but cannot do so on this date, please contact the Office of Sustainability and Environment at email@example.com. If there is enough interest a second dropoff date may be offered.
Due to health and safety concerns, the City is only able to collect new, unused A/C units and fans through the donation program. However, if you have a working, used A/C unit or fan, you can still try to get it to someone in need. Consider donating unwanted, but working units through exchange platforms like mutual aid groups, Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing Somerville, NextDoor, Craigslist, and others.
Another way to help fellow residents in need this summer is to donate to the Somerville Cares Fund. The Somerville Cares Fund supports Somerville community members most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic–including many in dire circumstances. It provides emergency funding to Somerville residents and workers, regardless of immigration status, to help cover basic needs including, but not limited to, food, medications, rent, utilities, and childcare. To make a donation and to learn more, go to somervillema.gov/SomervilleCares.
The City has also launched a new website with information about how to stay cool this summer while also following coronavirus precautions at http://www.somervillema.gov/keepcool. The website includes information about how you and your household can stay safe during hot temperatures, how to take advantage of programs available to help lower energy costs and use, and how you can help neighbors respond to extreme heat this summer.