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SPHA IN THE NEWS: SPHA Protecting Public Housing Families from Extreme Heat

Video report from WFLA - News Channel 8

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (JULY 9, 2024) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced new guidance in June 2024 regarding the use of HUD funding to help mitigate the impacts of extreme heat for nearly 1.6 million residents in public housing especially for those most vulnerable, including older Americans, infants and young children, and people with chronic medical conditions.

HUD's new guidance to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) helps to clarify the steps PHAs can take immediately to reduce the threat of extreme heat for residents by providing families with relief during severe or extreme heat periods, to help them afford to cool their homes. These new options allow PHAs to increase utility allowances for residents or forgo surcharges for the use of cooling, so that residents can use air conditioning during periods of severe or extreme heat.

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) has already implemented these guidelines for its 134 public housing units.

"We must protect the health and safety of our families during increasingly severe weather events, like extreme heat, that can cause grave harm and even death to any member of our community," said HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman. "As we transition into the Summer months, the need for public housing residents to access necessary cooling systems is vital and we are assertively taking these steps in the fight against extreme heat."

Extreme heat can greatly impact all people and is the leading cause of weather-related deaths every year. There are many ways to mitigate the effects of extreme heat in buildings and this guidance provides PHAs with additional examples of cooling strategies to consider outside of providing air-conditioning. While HUD defines extreme heat as a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for a minimum of two to three days, this guidance allows for even more local control by allowing PHAs to define severe or extreme heat more broadly to support families in their communities.

"Home should be a place of comfort, and nobody should have to risk heat-related illness residing in their own home," said Richard Monocchio, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing. "This Notice makes it as easy as possible for PHAs to help individuals and families in public housing afford air conditioning and reinforces PHAs ability to create cooling centers for residents in public housing. We are providing maximum local control and decision-making for an issue that impacts more and more communities across the country each year."

For additional resources on extreme heat and to learn more about preparedness and response, visit HUD's Extreme Heat webpage:


Hot day sky and thermometer.

An independent quasi-governmental entity and a political subdivision of the State of Florida, operating under Chapter 421 Florida Statutes, SPHA is the local administrative agency for housing assistance programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). SPHA offers a variety of programs and services that provide affordable rental housing to low-income families, seniors, veterans, and the disabled in the greater St. Petersburg region. For more information, visit