Commentary: Don’t leave low-income New Yorkers out of energy efficiency

Apartment buildings and other multifamily housing in New York State provide homes to more than 1.7 million low-income households, comprising more than one-fifth of the state’s total homes. Yet most of these New Yorkers reside in the oldest, least efficient housing in the state – a problem that Gov. Andrew Cuomo could help address this month, when he announces a new statewide energy efficiency initiative on Earth Day. The governor has an opportunity to roll out an ambitious proposal to meet the state’s clean energy and climate goals. New Yorkers most in need, and the multi-family rental housing where they live, must be a critical focus for the initiative to be successful. Recent news reports about the New York City Housing Authority provided examples of issues found in low-income rental housing throughout the state, such as inadequate heat, mold and other problems that impact residents’ health and safety.