FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW REPORT FINDS INSUFFICIENT FEDERAL RESPONSE TO COVID-19 LEAVES MILLIONS OF AMERICANS AT RISK OF UTILITY DISCONNECTION AMID RECORD-BREAKING WINTER TEMPERATURES
The Safe At Home in the Time of COVID-19 report released by Dream Corps Green For All finds bungled pandemic response left millions of unemployed Americans unable to afford increased utility bills, resulting in disconnections and families turning to unsafe alternatives.
OAKLAND, CA – February 23, 2021 – Currently, one in four households in the U.S. say they are struggling to pay utility bills. Energy-burdened families, those who spend 6% or more of their income on utilities, often forgo or cut-back on other essentials such as medication or food to keep heating or cooling their home. Others sometimes turn to unsafe alternatives to stay warm such as using a gas stove.
For the report, Dream Corps Green For All spoke with anti-poverty and energy experts, utility advocates, weatherization assistance program specialists, and groups working directly with low-income families to understand the increased challenges Americans face to stay safe at home during the pandemic. The Safe at Home in the Time of COVID-19 report documents the challenges facing low-income Americans experiencing high utility costs and unsafe indoor health. The report provides 13 recommendations for Congress, state authorities, utility providers, and policymakers to help struggling families stay safe at home and even use solutions to these problems to help jumpstart the economy with thousands of new local jobs.
To access a copy of the Safe At Home in the Time of COVID-19 report, visit: www.thedreamcorps.org/safeathome
“Middle-class families and policymakers dealing with the winter storm in Texas right now understand the plight of low-income families living in poorly insulated, energy inefficient, drafty homes who struggle to keep the lights on and heat in every winter. We must expand job opportunities in energy efficiency and weatherization now. Families forced to stay home to survive the pandemic, and work and school from home, need this as part of COVID relief. Upgrading and modernizing millions of homes will keep money in people’s pockets, create thousands of local jobs, and help more Americans stay safe when they need to be home.”Michelle Romero, National Director of Dream Corps Green For All.
Interviews with Michelle Romero, National Director of Dream Corps Green For All, and Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Deputy Director of Policy and co-author of the report are immediately available.
Special thanks to the following contributors to the report:
Action, Inc. (LEAN multifamily) · Alliance to Save Energy · Catalyst Miami · Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance · National Association for State Community Services Programs · National Community Action Foundation · National Consumer Law Center · North Carolina Justice Center · No Shutoffs Coalition · Natural Resources Defense Council · Ohio Citizen Action · Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy · Partnership for Southern Equity · PennFuture · Pennsylvania Utility Law Project · Power A Clean Future · Santa Fe Community College · Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance · Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute · The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy · The Utility Reform Network
DREAM CORPS GREEN FOR ALL: Works at the intersection of environmental, economic, and social justice movements to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mariah Chinchilla, [email protected], 510-272-7522