Opportunities and Challenges for Low-Income Residents in Bronx, New York

Sustainable South Bronx has taken the initiative to improve air quality and reduce the effects of heat waves in the area. One of their projects, NYC Cool Roofs, provides free reflective coating for roofs in affordable housing complexes. This coating can reduce energy consumption by decreasing the cooling load in summer and, at the same time, lowering the temperature of the surrounding area. Queens community districts 3 and 4 have a lower poverty rate than New York City as a whole, but higher than the rest of Queens.

16 percent of families in central Queens live below the poverty level, and an additional 32 percent are below the 200% poverty level. The survey also showed that those who lost their income during the pandemic were twice as likely to face housing instability as those who didn't lose income, even with an eviction moratorium in place. Streets and sidewalks make up 33.6 percent of all impervious surfaces in New York City. This project will provide more accessible space for residents and reduce industrial traffic and pollution in the South Bronx.

Low-income New Yorkers and people of color were less likely to receive government help than their white counterparts, compared to 17 percent of New York City citizens, which can complicate or prevent some from accessing resources available to U. S. citizens. Currently, there are maintenance facilities in Brooklyn and the Bronx, but with the program's rapid expansion, MRNY could advocate for an additional facility in downtown Queens.

With the number of heat waves expected to triple in the coming decades, staying cool will become an even more urgent need for New York City residents. People living in temperate climates such as New York are more susceptible to extreme heat than those living in warm or tropical climates, and buildings are less likely to be designed to mitigate high temperatures. The state launched a new emergency rental assistance program aimed at providing direct help to low-income New Yorkers affected by the COVID-19 crisis due to lost income, but it has been plagued by complications and has met with little success. At the same time, opportunities are emerging for new types of jobs, so-called “green jobs”, and it is essential that workers in at-risk industries have the resources necessary to make the transition to the new low-carbon economy, including job training, unemployment benefits and relocation funds.

The Unheard Third is an annual survey conducted by CSS in partnership with Lake Research and named after the third of voting-age New Yorkers living in low-income households that are often ignored by politicians. HEAP is a New York State program of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance that helps low-income people pay for heating and cooling their homes. NY Renews is a coalition of nearly 150 New York State organizations advocating for far-reaching political changes to mitigate climate change and its threats, especially for low-income communities and communities of color. They provide services and guidance to new and resident immigrants in the form of legal services, education, community organizing, and enacting policy changes.

With nearly 30% of individuals and families in this county living below the poverty line, many Bronx residents struggle to meet their basic needs and maintain stability in their daily lives.