As our world heads toward a climate crisis, ensuring climate justice is more important than ever. Recent reports show that rising temperatures will have an intense impact on New York City. A study by the New York City Panel on Climate Change suggests that coastal areas will face increasingly severe risks of floods, and a study by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation indicates that rates of heat stroke, disease, and air pollution will continue to rise.
While climate change will affect us all, we know that it will harm those who are already marginalized most. That’s why FiNY believes that it’s crucial that climate justice be an integral part of our racial and economic justice work.
- Expanding the Greener Greater Buildings law
- Prioritizing public renewable energy installations in climate vulnerable and low income communities
- Ensuring community benefits such as local hire, student engagement, and vocational training
- Developing pathways to union jobs through Sandy Workforce1 and Build it Back.
Hurricane Sandy Relief
Faith in New York, along with our allies in the Alliance for a Just Rebuidling, worked to assure not only that people’s immediate needs were met in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but that the more than $30 billion flowing into New York city for recovery and resiliency was used to address many of the longstanding issues of racial and economic disparity in the Rockaways and other Sandy impacted communities.
Click here to see Faith in New York former Executive Director Joseph McKellar speak at the North Star Fund sponsored forum at the Talking Transitions tent “From the Edge of Disaster: How Activists and Insiders Can Use the Lessons of Hurricane Sandy to Make the City Safer”
March 29, 2014: Mayor de Blasio stood with Faith in New York clergy and grassroots leaders, announcing in the Rockaways a new “Sandy rebuilding agenda”.
October 29, 2015: “3 Years After Sandy” Community Forum in partnership with Community Voices Heard and attended by Senator Schumer, Senator Sanders, Councilman Richards, and Councilman Treyger
March 28, 2016: Re-building of a climate justice steering committee during our Citywide Leadership Assembly to educate clergy and lay leaders about environmental racism concepts and test out ideas for community energy
Earth Day 2016, members shared their faith-rooted reasons for caring for the climate and asking for advocacy for people-centered climate policies
- Creating the $16 million (2,000 homes) Neighborhood Revitalization NYC Mold Treatment Program that will remove mold for free from Hurricane Sandy victims’ homes
- Securing a pledge of $1.2 million in emergency relief funds for undocumented Sandy victims from the NYC Commission on Immigrant Affairs
- Speeding up of the Rapid Repair Program so that people could move back safely into their homes
- Creating the Rockaways Economic Advancement Initiative, a collaboration with SBS, NYCHA, CEO, and Citi Community Development that invested $1.1 million in 2014 to expand place-based economic empowerment and mobility and connect Far Rockaway residents to high-quality, full-time employment
The Sandy rebuilding procurement contracts released during the week of December 8, 2014 fulfilled Faith in New York’s asks during our Faith and Community Forum on July 29, 2014 for increased local hire and economic support for Sandy survivors. The procurement contracts include:
- Local hiring standards that will impact contracts covering upwards of $750 million worth of reconstruction work
- $250 million being redirected from the Bloomberg business innovations process to provide housing assistance to ALL residents that will be out of their homes for more than 60 days during construction
- Procurement contracts which will create pathways for Sandy impacted persons to gain training and employment in rebuilding their communities via Workforce One and direct entry into unions
- New contracts that will be tied into existing union Project Labor Agreements – all work will be done by union workers with union wages and benefits
- A goal of 20% of all work being done by residents living in “Sandy impacted neighborhoods”
- Daily tracking and monitoring of payroll to ensure that all contractors are complying with federal guidelines for workforce development and the 20% goal of a Sandy-impacted labor force
- A national precedent of using HUD Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery for workforce development and training
- The extension of TDAP housing vouchers from 2 years to 4 years
Thousands of jobs were created from our advocacy work, and be tracked using the Sandy Tracker website which was a major victory for transparency and accountability in Sandy recovery spending of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding