Window air conditioner exchange begins Tuesday

Monday, May 19, 2014 | 8:34 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – Low-income families with old and inefficient window air conditioning units can receive a new, free one through a Columbia Water and Light and Voluntary Action Center joint program.

The Window Air Conditioner Exchange Program begins Tuesday and runs until Sept. 11, as long as supplies last.

Income qualifications

 The following list is the maximum yearly income based on household size to qualify for the air conditioner exchange. These numbers represent 200 percent of the federal poverty income level.

1 member - $23,340

2 members - $31,460

3 members - $39,580

4 members - $47,700

5 members - $55,820

6 members - $63,940

7 members - $72,060

8 members - $80,180

These numbers come from the city's website.

The Voluntary Action Center and Columbia Water and Light are teaming up for the third year in a row to help low-income families stay cool in the summer.

"We have over 100 units, but if we need to get more we can," said Connie Kacprowicz, the marketing and communications supervisor for Columbia Water and Light.

In order to qualify for the exchange, households must have an annual income of less than 200 percent of the poverty level and be a Columbia Water and Light customer.

Required documentation includes a water and light bill, a piece of addressed mail or a utility bill to prove residency in Boone County.

In order to receive a unit, residents also need to bring identification for every household member, the old cooling unit, and proof of all income for everyone at the address — including pay stubs and records from assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC.

"We encourage people to call ahead of time to make sure they bring all their documents and that they qualify," said Nick Foster, Voluntary Action Center executive director. Those looking to exchange can call 573-874-2273 to check availability and prepare for the exchange. 

Interested customers can use a chart on the city's website to see if they fit into the yearly income requirement.

The program is funded through Columbia Water and Light revenue, and the units are purchased by sending out bids and purchasing from the company with the lowest quoted price, said Kacprowicz. There are also some unclaimed units from last summer that will be available this year.

Those looking to exchange units can do so at the Voluntary Action Center, 403A Vandiver Drive, from 9-11 a.m. and from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Supervising editor is Samuel Hardiman.

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