Houston seniors receiving air conditioners as they struggle in the dangerous heat

With temperatures in Houston hitting higher than 100, believe it or not, a number of Houstonians don’t have air conditioning, but some residents are receiving much-needed relief.

Some residents we met in Sunnyside tell me many who live in the area have no way to escape the dangerous heat because they’re living without air conditioning and when it’s this hot that isn’t only uncomfortable but can be deadly.

"Yes, it’s hot. That’s why sometimes I go to the multiservice center to stay cool for a while," says 75-year-old Shirley Parker who doesn’t have central air at home. She only has a broken window unit and inside her home, it literally feels like the inside of an oven.

She isn’t the only one.

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"If it’s 100 outside, feels like it’s 105 in the house," says 74-year-old Shellie Randolph.  

So a lot of seniors seek shelter and safety from the extreme heat at Houston cooling centers such as the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, and on this day some are going home with a life-changing and perhaps lifesaving gift.

"It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing," Randolph smiles and Parker adds, "Thank you, God. There is a God."

They’re receiving mobile air conditioners that just plug in, and they can roll the unit from room to room. Without this Randolph says, "Sometimes, I go outside because it’s hotter inside than it is outside."

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"It was really hard last night. We had to open the doors, sleep in the living room with the fans on. It was pretty rough last night. (You literally keep your doors open at night?) Lately, since it’s been getting hot like that," Parker explains. She says she knows that isn’t safe, but neither is living in dangerously high temperatures without AC.

"A couple of years ago we had two families, two couples to die on the same street because of heat exhaustion," says Sandra Massie Hines who’s known as the "Mayor of Sunnyside."

That’s what those who aren’t receiving air conditioners on Thursday fear.


"I hate going home these days. I got to go to a hot house and I don’t want to go there. It’s like you just can’t breathe," says Jackie who lives in Sunnyside and doesn’t have air conditioning.  

"I am supporting the Houston Harris County Area Agency on Aging to be able to provide air conditioners for some of our most vulnerable senior citizens. We contributed about $50,000," explains Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz.

Over the next couple of weeks, more than 100 air conditioning units will be given out to allow even more residents to feel, "Relief, relief. I’m so thankful. I’m going to sleep real good tonight," Parker smiles. 

If you need an air conditioner reach out to the Harris County Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301.