2008-06-25 / Editorials

Op- Ed

QILC Program Offers Free Air Conditioners

If you have a physical or mental disability or you are a low-income senior citizen living in Queens, you will be happy to know you have an opportunity to obtain a free, energy-efficient air conditioner through the Warm and Cool Program. This program is operating in conjunction with Queens Independent Living Center (QILC), an organization that has served thousands of people with disabilities in the borough of Queens since 1983.

This is a first-of-its-kind program. Its goal is to help a population that will benefit from an air conditioner year-round. People who use certain medications and those with certain medical conditions may not be easily able or not be able at all to adjust to temperature fluctuations within their bodies. Others cannot adjust to temperature changes in the environment.

When the New York City Health Department sets up "cooling centers" during heat emergencies, some people are not able to leave their homes to travel to these locations. The Warm and Cool Program will allow its participants to "cool in place".

To apply for one of a limited supply of air conditioners, call 718-713-4731 or email info@warmandcoolprogram.com. You will be interviewed at its office or in your home, if you cannot travel. You will also be asked to submit necessary documents. Once you are determined to be eligible for the program, a staff member will visit your home to evaluate your need for an air conditioner and what the specifications of the unit should be.

If you are accepted into the Warm and Cool Program, an air conditioner will be delivered to your home and installed. Staff will make follow-up visits to inform and educate you about proper use and maintenance of the unit and to discuss disabilityrelated issues.

The Warm and Cool Program has seed money to purchase the air conditioners themselves. However, partners are needed to provide funding for such services as additional phone lines, intake staff and transportation and installation of air conditioners.

To partner with the Warm and Cool Program, please e-mail the address above. Your name will be included on promotional materials. QILC is a 501(c)3 organization.

Queens Independent Living Center provides people of all ages and disabilities with services that allow them to develop skills to live independently, earn degrees, find jobs, reduce their reliance on state and federal programs, stay out of institutions (when appropriate), participate in community life and become and remain self-sufficient. The organization serves more than 10,000 consumers annually.

Daniel Aliberti is president of Queens Independent Living Center.

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