Seniors and low income homeowners seek help for heat relief - Tucson News Now

Seniors and low income homeowners seek help for heat relief

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    It was the same route Isabel Martinez walks, to the same end location, as the one lunch break she will never forget. Martinez couldn't help but laugh hysterically as she walked out to her silver sedan, parked in the empty dirt lot at 383 N. Commerce Park Loop in Tucson, and told the story to Tucson News Now.

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A whirring swamp cooler is a welcome sound to Nick Jansen.

"It was stressful, especially with my brother, you know," he said from the top of his eastside home.

Under the roof were his mother and special needs brother, who Jansen said was in the hospital this week while the house heated up with a broken swamp cooler.

"If it hadn't been rusted through, I could have gotten it running.  But we are all three of us on Social Security and there's not enough money to go out and buy a new cooler," Jansen said.

"This bearing is about to fall off," said Siri Peterson as she showed the cooler that she removed from the Jansen home.  She has been volunteering for the nonprofit Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona since August.

"It's definitely grounding to be doing it in this heat just because we know if we hadn't replaced coolers like this, people living in the houses would be in this heat all summer," she said.

Now Nick Jansen and his family can truly live in their home once again.

"Without their help, there's just no way we could have had this work out," he said.

"The phone rings a lot, like all day long, but we just give absolute priority to cooling for the elderly and medically vulnerable people these days," said CHRPA executive director Scott Coverdale.

Coverdale estimated that CHRPA goes through $200,000 in the summer months for coolers, cooler parts, and supplies.  It also runs on volunteers and funding from a variety of sources including the Pima Council on Aging.  More than three quarters of their calls are to help seniors.

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