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Austin Commons Families Struggle Through Another Cold Night
For the second freezing night in a row, people who live at the Austin Commons Apartments in North Austin are without heat or gas.
A gas leak has shut off heat and hot water since Dec. 1. Officials expect the gas to be restored to every apartment in the complex by Friday, but that doesn’t help with them Tuesday night’s freezing temperatures.
Bundled up, covered head to toe in blankets, is the only way the Jaimes family is staying warm.
“It has been like really cold,” says Irbin Jaimes, 9, who lives at the Austin Commons with his parents and two siblings.
The Jaimes family wasn't able to pick up a space heater from the Austin Common's office until Tuesday afternoon, so they endured Monday night's frigid temperatures huddled together in the bedroom, piled with blankets.
“We all like sleep in the bedroom,” said Irbin. “And we sleep with our clothes on.”
But the three Jaimes kids aren't the only ones enduring the cold temperatures living at the Austin Commons.
Teachers at Burnet Middle School noticed their students coming to class freezing cold, complaining of not having hot showers, or a way for their families to cook a hot meal.
“One of the things you learn by working in the school system is that teachers really care about their kids,” said Family Resource Center Director Norma Maldonado. “They get to know them, get to understand if the kids are hungry, if they need a backpack, and they put their own personal resources a lot of times into gathering the supplies that the children need.”
The teachers collected $150, out of their own salaries, to purchase blankets for their students living at the Commons without heat.
That generosity is helping kids like Irbin stay warm until the gas leak is fixed and the heat returned.
“I wish I had heat back,” said Irbin sadly.
The Family Resource Center at Burnet Middle School helps provide necessities to the school kids in emergency situations like this one.
You can help by making a donation - anything from blankets to Christmas toys or canned food - to the Resource Center by calling 512-841-8008.
By Karen Kiley