Thursday, January 27, 2022


The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory, and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.


Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement, the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic, and Ariz. lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.


Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

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
Under a new proposal, California employees could use up to three days of paid sick leave to get and recover from a COVID vaccination. (Mangostar/Adobestock)

Social Issues

Parents' rights groups are praising a plan to extend paid sick leave for many California workers, which is now on a fast track to pass. Gov…

Social Issues

Changes to a student-loan program for public-service employees is transforming the lives of Montanans who had their debts forgiven. In October…

Health and Wellness

When the Pueblo Community Health Center opened its 14,000 square-foot facility in 2003, Pueblo's east side, home to mostly minority residents…

By 2035, there are projected to be more than 1.2 million older adults living in Minnesota (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Minnesota is building on efforts to meet the needs of its growing population of older adults, now becoming the 10th state to join AARP's network of …

Social Issues

The past year saw American workers reassessing their jobs. However, those shifts did not result in higher union membership at the national level…

Those calling for permanent universal free school meals say research has linked them to better academic outcomes. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

This summer, a key initiative to boost school meal access during the pandemic will expire. In North Dakota, those working at the community level say …


New research suggests Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction event, on par with the one that ended the age of dinosaurs, already is under way. Noah Greenwald…

Social Issues

As local municipalities consider ways to use an influx of funds from the American Rescue Plan, some communities see it as an opportunity to support …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021