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Free AC! Church’s Project Plugs Back In As Summer Heat Bears Down On Texas

A white air conditioner juts out from a window of a blue house, in South Dallas, on July 19, 2021.
Keren Carrión
Air conditioning units on the floor of a building.

Cornerstone Baptist Church in South Dallas is once again taking requests for their air conditioning program.

After a high volume of calls in early July, the church had to temporarily pause the program.

“The first day we had 110 calls. So it was really trying to keep up with the demand. So now they are caught up and so we're back open again and receiving calls,” Pastor Chris Simmons said.

For seven years, the church has provided free air conditioning units to low-income residents in the southern sector of Dallas as part of the North Texas Air Conditioning Initiative.

According to Pastor Chris Simmons, last year the church provided a total of 150 AC units and this year Simmons says the phone hasn’t stopped ringing.

“Really individuals [were] trying to catch up on rent and trying to buy food trying to do some of the basic necessities. So now that it is hot, their funds are depleted. And yet the heat is on,” he said.

Simmons attributes the high need of AC units to the economic effect the pandemic has had on communities of color.

Summer 2021 is off to the hottest start, according to The Weather Channel.

“This is particularly the case from Texas to the West,” according to meteorologists. “There's little sign of relief headed into August.”

Simmons hopes to keep North Texas families cool during the hot summer days ahead.

“We've had several heartbreaking stories like that of individuals who have written to us about their particular need for AC,” Simmons said. “In order to save lives, I think everyone needs to come to the table.”
Eligible residents must live in a home that supports a window conditioning unit and must live within a 50 mile radius of downtown. No apartment or mobile home residents can apply. The church is partnering with Lowe’s for installations.

Priority will be given to seniors, individuals with disabilities and families who live in the zip code 75215.

To sign up, call the number 214-791-9882 or email

Simmons asks people calling to be patient. There is a long waiting list but the church is trying to get to everyone as quickly as they can.

The Cornerstone Baptist Church is seen through a fence, with two cars out front, on July 19, 2021.
Keren Carrión
The Cornerstone Baptist Church is seen through a fence, in South Dallas, on July 19, 2021.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.