Green Infrastructure and planning services to prevent flooding and heat islands has been awarded an up to $900,000 by the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation
YONKERS, NY (December, 2021) – An innovative green infrastructure plan developed by Groundwork Hudson Valley in partnership with The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) has been awarded an up to $900,000 grant to prevent heat islands and flooding at Housing Authority properties.
The proposed work will benefit hundreds of low-income residents in modest apartment buildings across the MHACY system. It is part of a larger environmental justice effort to correct policies that in the past have caused communities of color to suffer a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences.
The grant announcement was made on December 14 by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office and the Environmental Facilities Corporation.
“We are grateful to Gov. Kathy Hochul and the State of New York for their progressive policies that work to correct past actions that have adversely our communities,’’ said Wilson Kimball, President and CEO of MHACY. “This program with our partner Hudson Valley Groundwork will not only improve conditions for our residents, but will create jobs in our community for young people interested in environmental justice and green careers. We are excited to get started.”
Brigitte Griswold, Groundwork’s Executive Director, who is leading a broader Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership with the city, said “MHACY is at the forefront of creating a more climate resilient environment for our great city of Yonkers. They embrace a community driven approach and work closely with us to ensure that we are able to meet with actual residents and learn about their immediate and long-term concerns for their health, safety, and comfort and that of their families, friends, and neighbors. These projects serve as demonstrations that nature-based solutions can create high impact solutions to problems that arise during extreme weather events.”
Under the plan, environmentally resilient landscaping using site specific adaptations, including planting native trees and shrubs to create natural shade and creating bioswales to improve stormwater management, will be completed at the Dr. James O’Rourke Townhouses, Francis Reagan Townhouses, William A. Walsh Homes, Joseph F. Loehr Court, Kris Kristensen Homes, and Msgr. Cajetan J. Troy Manor in Yonkers.
The project will include the Green Team – a youth conservation employment program at Groundwork Hudson Valley that hires 30 Yonkers Public High School students every year. The students will maintain the plantings to abate heat as well as the bioswales which will reduce flooding. The goal is to create a green oasis in these urban areas and improve the quality of life for MHACY residents while significantly reducing stormwater pollution into four major waterways – the Hudson, Saw Mill, Sprain, and Bronx Rivers.
The project is a result of a feasibility study, linked here, that was done by the New Rochelle firm Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architects, PC released in February 2021 which laid out a comprehensive plan to promote environmental resiliency in one of the region’s largest affordable housing systems. The Hudson Valley region is expecting more intense rainfall over the next decade and many more heat waves due to climate change. Research shows that people living in low-income areas are more vulnerable to climate risks due to historic redlining policies that resulted in more environmentally hazardous neighborhoods. Combined with the unique topography of Yonkers and the proximity to four rivers, these neighborhoods are among the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change in the region.
About the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers
The Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (“MHACY”) owns and manages a wide variety of properties, and administers a Housing Choice Voucher Program, to provide affordable, stable, decent and safe housing opportunities within the City of Yonkers. In pursuing our mission we work collaboratively with federal and state officials, and with the City of Yonkers, as their participation and assistance is essential in addressing the housing needs of families with very low income.
About Groundwork Hudson Valley
Groundwork Hudson Valley creates sustainable environmental change in urban neighborhoods through community-based partnerships that promote equity, youth leadership, and economic opportunity. For over twenty years, Groundwork has made neighborhoods more livable and sustainable through an array of on-the-ground environmental projects that directly involve local residents. We restore rivers and build trails, parks, and playgrounds. We engage community members in all of our work – with a particular focus on educating and employing young people. For more information, contact Groundwork Hudson Valley at 914-375-2151 or visit our website at groundworkhv.org.