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Fort Worth teams with Reliant to Beat the Heat

Fort Worth teams with Reliant to Beat the Heat
Fort Worth teams with Reliant to Beat the Heat 02:18

FORT WORTH — With triple-digit temperatures on the way, Minnie Nealy Hodge and her daughter are worried about making ends meet.


Their last electric bill skyrocketed. 

"The weather is not going to change. It's going to be hot and there are going to be bills and people are going to need help," said Ms. Hodge. "My daughter is handicapped and her bill this month was $247. That's this month…alone," she added. 

If their A/C unit goes out or they can't pay their upcoming bills they're concerned they may not qualify for community services. 

But Kasey Bess, Neighborhood Community Services, told CBS Texas help is available for people who need it. 

"People may have A/C, but they don't want to turn it on because they don't feel like they have the means to pay for their utility bills. And so we can help with rental assistance or utility assistance as well," she said. 

Bess said the City of Fort Worth is partnering with Reliant Energy and other community partners to open four Beat the Heat cooling centers as a solution for heat relief.

Through the partnership with Reliant, four local community centers will offer air-conditioned spaces, water, snacks and activities. 

The cooling centers are free and open to the public:

Reliant Beat the Heat Center Locations

  • Como Community Center: 4660 Horne St.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center: 5565 Truman Dr.
  • Northside Community Center: 1100 NW 18th St.
  • Worth Heights Community Center: 3551 New York Ave.

"We help thousands of residents every year through programs. We just want to make sure that people don't feel embarrassed about calling," Bess added. 

Reliant Energy has also donated nearly 100 cooling devices, including window AC units and evaporative cooling fans, available by request. 

With particular concern for senior citizens on limited incomes and unhoused people who may not have access to AC at all, Fort Worth Fire Department Chief Jim Davis said working to help the area's most vulnerable populations get what they need is a team effort. 

"Heat has its toll on everybody, no matter how old they are. It's just more impactful to an elderly community from a dehydration standpoint, from a respiratory standpoint…the fire department ends up getting involved because they get lightheaded and dizzy and pass out or they have shortness of breath and can't breathe," said Davis. 

Davis said it's hard to determine the exact call volume specifically related to heat because the calls are often associated with other issues or injuries. 

"In extreme temperatures, the heat, we find our call volume going up to serve those additional needs in the community. Our goal is to work proactively in advance of the high heat, to give people an opportunity to know what to do, know how to report [and] know how to get help and make sure that they are in places and have cooling stations available," he said. 

Available services also include a priority repair program and a weatherization program, in addition to utility assistance, available by calling the City of Fort Worth Community Action Partners at (817) 392-5720

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