City Air-Conditioner Program Helps 73 Families, But Had More Than 700 Applicants

Special to the Record

The City, through its Dept. of Housing and Community Development and Dept. of Public Works, is rapidly delivering reprieve to residents as we face one of the hottest summers on record. This week, the Departments oversaw a lottery and began the delivery of energy efficient air conditioning units through the new AC Unit Program, a critical reprieve as the sweltering summertime heat continues. 

“As temperatures rise, due to our changing climate, Chelsea will bear the brunt of heat waves, extreme storms, and flooding,” stated Alex Train, Director of Housing and Community Development. “It’s imperative that we pursue a range of equitable, community-led strategies to reduce flooding, improve air quality, and provide affordable, accessible cooling options for residents.” 

Designed to serve income eligible residents vulnerable to heat related illness, including seniors, disabled residents, and residents with underlying health conditions, the Program provides energy efficient AC units and electricity bill assistance to income eligible households. The Program, which is being carried out through a critical partnership with GreenRoots and the Neighborhood Developers, is made possible with generous funding from the Barr Foundation and MAPC. 

“Through new programs, such as the AC Unit Program, the City has prioritized serving residents that are vulnerable to climate change, such as our seniors and residents with underlying health conditions,” proclaimed Fidel Maltez, Commissioner of Public Works. “With over 700 qualified applicants, this program demonstrates that communities like Chelsea need significantly more resources if we’re going to meaningfully confront climate change.” 

After closing out the application period, the City reviewed over 700 applications for assistance. Given the large number of applicants, the City held a lottery on July 14, resulting in the selection of 73 households, who will participate in the Program, and a waiting list. DPW staff began deliveries on July 16, which will continue through this week. Simultaneously, the two Departments are working to secure additional funding, which would be used to serve a larger number of households through this program. 

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