PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After dozens of people in Multnomah County died in the heat wave last summer, KOIN 6 is continuing to follow state, city and county efforts to get free air conditioning units to low-income people.
Hundreds of units have been installed and thousands have been ordered by the state and by Earth Advantage, a local nonprofit. However, there are still hundreds of units waiting in warehouses.
Earth Advantage reported Wednesday afternoon that the groups they give out the AC units to have installed just over 900 units since the program started last month.
The state health authority says it delivered over 900 units to non-profits and directly to households, but non-profits receiving air conditioners, like the Portland Open Bible Church Community Pantry, still have hundreds of people on their waiting list.
Betty Brown with Portland Open Bible Church Community Pantry says she’s completely out of air conditioners, despite plenty of people still calling in need of a unit.
Brown was put in touch with Earth Advantage, but was told there was a bureaucratic process involved. Organizers said she had to apply for her non-profit to be a provider and get city council approval — even though her organization was already approved by the state health authority, which checks to make sure those requesting a unit qualify based on income and other guidelines.
Meanwhile, those hundreds of AC units still sit waiting for pickup.