Report: High Energy Burdens Affect MI Health, Quality of Life
Friday, July 30, 2021
LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health, too.
For some Michiganders, one third of their household income goes to energy bills, according to research from the Michigan League for Public Policy.
Energy bills were one of the main reasons for 'Michigan 211' calls, even pre-pandemic - and since March 2020, the helpline has received more than 68,000 requests for help paying utility bills.
Julie Cassidy, senior policy analyst with the League, said investing in home improvements in areas with high energy cost burdens is necessary to ensure a better quality of life.
"By addressing some of these housing quality issues," said Cassidy, "and really trying to get back to these root causes in terms of housing discrimination, we can not only help families today lower their energy bills, but we can also help to make them healthier. And that's something that all people of Michigan deserve."
The report examines the impact of racial discrimination in housing policies, and found connections between poor housing quality and health issues.
For instance, asthma episodes are often triggered in the home. Michigan has one of the nation's highest adult asthma rates, at just over 11%.
At the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department, Executive Director Stephanie Howard said they work to lower energy bills for lower-income families, with weatherization and other programs.
But in some cases, when a home is in such poor condition or a roof needs repairs, they can't be much help. Howard said she would like to see Michigan lawmakers set aside funding to fix roofs first, so the weatherization efforts will make a difference.
"If you think about one of the key elements of shelter, it's literally having a roof over your head," said Howard. "So, without a much-needed solution as to how to have that roof in good condition, there will be many residents that will ultimately be unable to stay in their homes due to the failing roof."
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has set aside $5 million in her proposed 2022 budget for a pilot program to make the home repairs necessary for energy-efficiency improvements.
Disclosure: Michigan League for Public Policy/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…
INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …
Health and Wellness
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …