Ahead of cold front, Hidalgo County agency offering space heaters to its most vulnerable

Monica Hinojosa, an emergency services coordinator for the county, and sheriff's deputy Manuel Morales hand out space heaters and smoke detectors to those in need at the Hidalgo County Community Service Agency on Friday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])
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In response to freezing temperatures expected to arrive next week, the Hidalgo County Community Service Agency is offering aid to its most vulnerable residents.

The agency has announced the availability of a limited number of space heaters amid a nationwide winter storm warning. The National Weather Service in Brownsville/RGV anticipates widespread freezing conditions Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, with temperatures reaching in the 40s and low 50s.

The Hidalgo County Heater Distribution program provides a space heater and a smoke detector for families who have no other means of heating their homes.

The program is federally funded through the state, and has very specific requirements, according to Hidalgo County Community Service Agency Executive Director Jaime Longoria.

“Families must qualify through income guidelines, and then of course we have to prove legal citizenship and residency,” Longoria said. The county has 140,000 to 150,000 households which meets this specific criteria, he added.

Residents will be asked to complete a program application and provide proof of income for the last 30 days showing they’re at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level; identification and proof of residency via ID and birth certificate for all members of the household; and unpaid electrical utility bill, water bill and natural gas, if applicable.

Longoria said the unpaid bills will be addressed by the agency, to help the household’s utilities remain in service.

“Residents who are in need of a space heater or who may have other weather-related needs should reach out to our office,” Longoria said. “Weather extremes can be difficult for vulnerable family members to endure. We would like to help make this more bearable.”

Heaters are available at the main office, located at 2524 N. Closner Blvd. in Edinburg. For more information, call (956) 383-6240.