Green Jobs, Green Housing Town Hall Meeting

On Thursday May 28th PUSH members, staff and community residents gathered together at the old library on Grant St. to participate in a “town hall” style meeting to get local elected officials and their representatives to commit to our Green Jobs, Green Housing Platform. Over 130 people crowded into the library to let our elected officials know that we shouldn’t have to pay through the nose to stay warm and that we need lower utility bills and green, living wage jobs in our neighborhoods! Several PUSH members told their stories about how hard it is to pay off utility bills when they are so high and how the lack of weatherized homes in the neighborhood makes it almost impossible to find a place where utility bills are reasonable. Real people know what it’s like to have to make tough choices like whether to pay your utility bill or your rent. David "Saint" Rodriguez, a PUSH member said, “I’m trying to do better for my family, for the neighborhood, but it’s hard when there are no jobs out there that I can support myself on.” Rodriguez continued, “So I am asking everyone here to push with me! Green Jobs and Housing!” We even got the perspective of a landlord, Terry Richards, who would love the opportunity to weatherize her properties so that her tenants aren’t stuck paying huge utility bills. She noted, to applause, that when people’s energy bills are low, they are able to pay their rent on time! There were six elected officials and representatives in attendance at the meeting including: Councilmember David Rivera, State Senator Bill Stachowski, as well as representatives from Sen. Antoine Thompson, Mayor Byron Brown, County Executive Chris Collins, and County Legislator Maria Whyte. All of the officials and their reps except County Executive Collins were able pledge their support for the platform, which means we’re gonna make big changes because we knocked and got some doors open for us! All of the elected officials and reps did agree to meet with us in the future. In case you forgot what we’re demanding, take a look at our platform and remember– for us, going green isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s about survival! PUSH Green Jobs, Green Housing Platform: 1. Public sector leaders and private utility companies should work to ensure that 1000 units are weatherized in 2009, thereby reducing utility costs and carbon emissions. 2. Create a "green jobs fund" to strengthen pathways to employment in the energy efficiency industry. 3. Pass legislation that would dramatically increase neighborhood access to residential retrofits. 4. A commitment to "greening" all local projects supported by Federal stimulus money so that people see development where they live and are able to connect to jobs they need to support their families. People know what they need where they live and what we need are more and better jobs and lower utility bills! P.S. Check out pictures from the meeting on our lovely flickr page