Child cooling off

Summer in Miami is getting longer and hotter. When people have air conditioning units in their home, it helps cool down their core body temperature. And that can greatly reduce the risks of a heat-related illness or even death.

But not everyone can afford an air conditioner. That means low-income residents must rely on places like malls or libraries when temperatures get dangerously hot. And there are a lot of low-income people in Miami-Dade County. About one-fifth of residents live below the federal poverty level. So it puts a lot of pressure on cooling centers.

Caroline Lewis, the executive director of the nonprofit CLEO Institute says cooling centers are not a perfect fix. For example, people do not always know where they are or have a way to get to them.

Lewis says another solution is to make sure every home in Miami has an air conditioning unit in at least one room. She’s determined to find the funding to make it happen.

Lewis: “This is a fix that has life and death consequences and I think is affordable and doable.”

As the climate continues to warm, air conditioning might one day be as crucial to surviving southern summers, as heaters are to surviving northern winters.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

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