Community steps in for assisted living residents without A/C

'We need to be proactive': Community steps in for assisted living community without AC
Updated: Jul. 4, 2018 at 6:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Several community organizations answered the call when the air conditioning unit at the Church Hill House broke down. The Richmond NAACP says they received at least a dozen complaints that the A/C had not been working since last Friday.

The Church Hill House is an assisted living facility that offers affordable housing to the elderly, and people with disabilities.

"We want to make sure that we let our folks know here, that we love them and we care about them," said JJ Minor with the Richmond NAACP.

Tuesday, several people delivered cases of water, ice, snacks and fans to residents.

"We suffered, some people didn't even stay here the last one or two nights, they went to motels," explained resident Earnest McLaurin. "I stayed downstairs because I live alone and I didn't want to pass out in my apartment because of the heat and lack of ventilation."

The senior, who suffers from diabetes and Parkinson's disease called the extreme temperatures "scary" without properly working A/C.

"In a situation like this someone could have died---dehydration, heat stroke, we need to make sure we're doing better," said Minor.

Minor says as of Wednesday the A/C had been fixed, but it would take time for the entire building of more than 100 units to cool off. In the meantime, the community is continuing to check on residents. The Richmond NAACP and other organizations plan to meet with property managers to discuss maintenance, and the importance of creating emergency plans in extreme temperatures.

"We need to make sure that all housing complexes or property owners are making sure they are servicing A/C units," said Minor. "Not just here, but throughout the whole city and RVA as well. We definitely don't want this to happen again. We need to take a more proactive approach."

NBC 12 has reached out to the Church Hill House management, but we have not yet heard back.

Wednesday, NBC 12 caught up with City Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille who stopped by to check on residents. Newbille says while the A/C is working again, it still needs a few tweaks. Newbille also emphasized the importance of checking on loved ones, especially the elderly during intense heat.

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