Doris Blaylock has lived in her home in the Sunnyside area for nearly 30 years. She has two window units in the house and can't afford to add more. The cost of cooling and heating the home goes up every year because of structural and insulation problems. Arcadio Padilla with Sheltering Arms Senior Services says the elderly are highly vulnerable to heat stroke, but it doesn't make sense to add more cooling systems to a house in as much disrepair as this one.
Adding more window units isn't feasible because Blaylock can't afford the energy bill for cooling a house full of holes. So TXU Energy is offering a program for eligible homeowners to weatherize homes and help the elderly save money. TXU Spokesman Michael Swart says they're partnering with Sheltering Arms to provide $500,000 over the next three years to bring houses up to the structural standards necessary to weatherize them.
Blaylock says she could never afford the kind of repairs needed on her home, in fact she couldn't even pay for the window units or heaters in her home, they were provided by Sheltering Arms.
Sheltering Arms President Robert Phillips says hundreds of low-income elderly residents are waiting for these kind of services, the demand is so great that only a fraction of them will receive assistance.
Doris Blaylock is one of the lucky ones left with a spruced up house and a refuge from the Houston heat.