Memphis cooling assistance.

When Memphis starts up their cooling emergency assistance team during the summer months, families can look into assistance programs including free fans, utility bill assistance, and explore the services offered at cooling stations in their locals.

Any citizen, and especially the elderly, who are looking to stay cool during the summer can feel free to use the city of Memphis’s cooling centers. Libraries, community centers and senior centers, and other locations are open to the public during regular business hours, and some are also open on the weekend.

Memphis Light Gas and Water, or MLGW, is the main utility provider for all of Shelby County Tennessee. They also provide aid, cooling assistance, and other services.

One of the leading resources available is the reconnection program. This will provide any customer, no matter how much they owe on their unpaid bills, the ability to pay up to $250, plus the reconnection fee, to re-establish service during the summer months. If a customer signs up for this program they will also need to agree to enter into a deferred payment plan for at most five months. During that period of time they need to pay off the remaining balance on their electric bills. After a customer agrees to these terms then MLGW will restore their service for up to least 15 days.

When the forecast heat index will be 95 degrees or above, Memphis Light Gas & Water puts into place a moratorium on utility disconnections. Customers who are 60 years old or older, dependent on life-support, have an extreme medical condition, or physically challenged won’t have their utilities disconnected.

In addition, from time to time the energy provider will also pass out free fans or window air conditioner units for older, low-income residents. Applicants will either need to completely lack a unit, or maybe their existing fan or AC broke.





Transportation is provided to a cooling center by the city of Memphis. Those seniors and/or low income individuals who do not have transportation can take MATA buses. They usually will offer discounted travel to a center during the extreme summer heat.

Residents can stay cool by going to the cooling centers (see below for addresses), or to the community pools across Shelby County. The city is always strongly urging citizens to take advantage of all resources available to them, including those senior centers, community centers, and cooling stations. People should also look into assistance from MLGW, both financial and other, such as free fans.

If need help from the city of Memphis, or have questions on the programs, please call (901) 576-6500.

City cooling center addresses in Memphis

The locations to stop by are listed below. Staff on site, including volunteers, are also available to ask questions of.

Memphis Public Information Center and libraries serve as cooling stations. Call (901) 415-2700 for addresses and hours if you are not familiar with one in your neighborhood.

The majority of community centers operated by the city are open from Monday through Friday - 12:00 noon to 8 p.m. and many are also on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. because of the extreme heat. To find a location near you dial (901) 576-4200 for locations.

If you need a place to go outside of those timeframes, then late-night cooling stations will be open at Foote Homes Community Center, 578 Mississippi Blvd.

Senior Centers can be found at the following addresses.

  • Orange Mound, 2590 Park, call (901) 576-6622.
  • McWherter, 1355 Estate, (901) 761-2462;
  • Frayser/Raleigh, 3985 Egypt Central, phone dial (901) 383-9101;
  • Lewis, 1188 N. Parkway, (901) 576-4255.




By Jon McNamara

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