In early September 2020, an intense heatwave broke temperature records throughout the Inland Empire. The heatwave was severe enough that older and undersized air conditioning systems could not cool down homes. The extreme heat was problematic for vulnerable senior citizens living in the Inland Empire with broken, faulty, or undersized air conditioning systems, as was the case for Zafar Sheikh.
Mr. Sheikh, a long-time resident of the Inland Empire, first living in Rancho Cucamonga and then moving to the City of Chino after the passing of his wife, was one of many seniors to retreat to the shade of a neighbor’s tree or covered patio since the temperatures inside their homes exceeded the outside heat at times. With a broken, undersized central air conditioning system and with preexisting medical conditions, Mr. Sheikh was desperate to fight off the intense heat.
“They were the worst days of my life,” said Mr. Sheikh. “I was so desperate because it was so hot, and I couldn’t take it. I would go to the grocery store during the day just to walk around and be in the air conditioning.”
In times of utter desperation, Mr. Sheikh had to sleep in his car and on his patio. “I couldn’t figure out why it was so nice and cool during the nighttime outside, and yet my house was still so hot inside, even though all the windows were open,” said Mr. Sheikh. His neighbor pointed out that he had an undersized and faulty air conditioning unit that could not cool down his house.
It was then that a friend told him about how NPHS and the City of Chino are working together to provide home repair grants and loans to seniors. Mr. Sheikh contacted NPHS and applied for a home repair grant offered by the City of Chino. The City of Chino’s Owner-Occupied Repair (OOR) program provides grants up to $5,000 for home repairs and accessibility modifications to eligible senior homeowners at least sixty-two years of age and who own a home in the City of Chino.
NPHS’ team of certified Housing Rehabilitation Specialists quickly began to assist Mr. Sheikh. They helped him with the application, select a contractor, and managed the entire home repair process. Through the City of Chino’s OOR program, NPHS replaced Mr. Sheikh’s air conditioning unit, furnace, and thermostat. Now, Mr. Sheikh can remain comfortable in his home during the hot summer and cold winter seasons. Mr. Sheikh’s quality of life has drastically improved thanks to NPHS and the City of Chino.
“I’m very happy with the job the folks at NPHS did. They were so professional and just wonderful people who work with the City,” said Mr. Sheikh. “The OOR programs offered by NPHS and the City of Chino are very badly needed. It is a program that everyone should and needs to take advantage of,” said Mr. Sheikh