Jeff Masters Weather Blog

How Miami-Dade County is protecting public housing residents from dangerous heat waves » Yale Climate Connections

The federal government requires all public housing to be heated to keep residents warm, but it does not require cooling. So during heat waves, people may be at risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses, especially as the climate warms.

So Miami-Dade County has taken action on its own.

Jane Gilbert is the county’s chief heat officer. She says for decades, the county has required all new and redeveloped public housing to have air conditioning.

Gilbert: “But our existing buildings, still, many of them have maybe one old wall unit, and it’s a four-bedroom unit, or they didn’t have any AC.”

So last year, the county installed 1,700 air conditioning units in public housing.

Gilbert: “We wanted to make sure all the bedrooms had access to cooling.”

She says the recipients have expressed how having AC has improved their lives.

Gilbert: “They can sleep at night. They can stay at their home and not have to camp out at a library all day. Their kids were able to get their homework done and do better in school.”

And they’re better able to stay safe and comfortable, even as the climate warms.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media

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