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‘Beat the Heat’ goal of DHS, Entergy program

Many low-income, elderly and disabled people make it through thesummer each year in the sweltering heat with no relief in sightbecause they don’t have the money or resources to cool their home.In extreme temperatures, that can be deadly.

But because of the “Beat the Heat” program through the Departmentof Human Services and Entergy Mississippi, Inc., people can nowreceive devices that will help break up the heat in their homesthrough the long summer months.

“We partner with Entergy Mississippi on numerous low-incomeinitiatives, from LIHEAP (Low Income Housing Energy AssistanceProgram) to a new weatherization partnership formed earlier thisyear,” said DHS Division of Community Services director SollieNorwood. “This program is yet another opportunity to helpMississippians in need, and we look forward to it everyyear.”

Entergy Customer Accounts manager Kenny Goza said this year makes12 years that the companies have gotten together on the Beat theHeat initiative.

“Extreme heat can be deadly, especially to the elderly,” he said.”Beat the Heat is one way we can help address their needs.”

Goza said during the time the program has been going on, more than6,800 fans and 600 air conditioners have been given away. This yearBeat the Heat planners expect to give away 350 fans and 35window-unit air conditioners in Entergy’s service area.

“We put a lot of emphasis on elderly and low income, we try to helpthem in numerous ways throughout the year, and this is just oneway,” Goza said. “Apart from DeSoto County, every county inMississippi is poverty level right now, and there are a lot oflow-income elderly out there, and this has been one of the hottestsummers that I can remember.”

In Brookhaven, Goza said, AJFC (Adams Jefferson Franklin Copiah)Community Action Agency is the contact point for applicants to seeif they qualify. Applicants simply need to call the agency at601-833-6349 to see if they qualify, he said.

“A lot of people don’t know that agency is over there,” he said.”There’s money out there that’s got to be used up and people needto go and see if they qualify to get that.”

Entergy and DHS have also recently partnered on anotherweatherization initiative this year with the South CentralCommunity Action Agency, helping people weatherize their homesthrough insulation and energy-efficient appliances. Goza saidpublic awareness of the program seems to be increasing, and morepeople are being helped by the initiatives.

“Each year it seems to be growing,” Goza said.