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Beat the heat by finding a cooling center near you

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Delaney Van
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Cooling centers are air-conditioned spaces open to the public.

For residents looking to get some relief from the summer heat, there are various places throughout Oklahoma offering a space to cool down for free.

With temperatures entering into the 100s this week, Oklahomans are looking for ways to cool down. Local libraries, YMCAs and community centers have opened up as cooling centers for the summer.

Below is a map that pinpoints available cooling center locations across the state. Search for your city or county using the table at the end of the article.

If you’d like to add a location(s), please reach out to Xcaret Nuñez at xcaret@kosu.org.

Financial assistance for high utility costs

There are also resources available for people who need financial assistance to help cover summer utility costs or for people in need of an air-conditioning unit.

Oklahoma’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance to Oklahomans in need of covering utility costs. Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services opened applications for their summer cooling program last week. LIHEAP gives eligible households a one-time payment of the minimum amount needed to help pay their past due utility balance for the summer, and caps payments at $500. People can also apply to help reimburse the cost to buy or repair cooling equipment for up to $150, according to OKDHS’ latest announcement. Native households can apply through OKDHS’ website or through their tribal nation. However, OKDHS states Native households cannot receive assistance from both OKDHS and their tribe within the same federal fiscal year — October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.

People can apply for LIHEAP through OKDHS’ website, or call at (405) 522-5050 but expect a long wait time while on call. Applicants will have to present their most recent cooling bill, utility supplier, form of ID, social security number and verification of income.

Oklahoma’s Weatherization Assistance Program is another federally funded program that helps low-income households look for ways to lower utility bills and save energy. WAP conducts energy audits on households that qualify for the program and pays for weatherization solutions such as air-conditioning-unit replacements, wall and attic insulation and caulking around windows. Applications are open year-long and can be found by applying through your local Community Action Agency group’s website or contacting your local CAA office.

The Tulsa Weather Coalition is a program under the nonprofit Community Service Council that purchases air conditioners for low-income households through donations. Eligible applicants must also live in Tulsa County and have a medical condition that is made worse by heat. Applications for an air conditioner can be found on TWC’s website.

If you’d like to add a location(s), please reach out to Xcaret Nuñez at xcaret@kosu.org.

Xcaret Nuñez covers agriculture and rural communities for KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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