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In January, fire tore through a major affordable housing development in the Bronx, killing 19 people. Officials were quick to blame the Twin Parks North West fire on a space heater and broken fire door. But the root cause of the fire runs much deeper.
America has an energy insecurity crisis. A third of U.S. households have trouble paying their energy bills, with energy costs falling most heavily on communities of color. Black households, in particular, spend 43 percent more on energy than white households; Hispanic households spend 20 percent more. These inequities stem from a long history of racist housing policies and disinvestment in public housing.
When people struggle to make ends meet, they resort to stopgap measures to get by. For residents of affordable housing developments like Twin Parks North West, that often means turning to space heaters to keep warm in the winter.
This week: The deadly consequences of America’s energy divide, and how we can solve it.
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