A $2 million investment aims to change a major heat problem impacting residents in south Yonkers.
Yolanda Lee has lived at the Loehr Court Apartments for the last six years. She says it’s ‘like a prison without bars’ in the summer.
This is due to the urban heat island effect, which is when urban areas get much hotter than more residential areas.
Lee says the problem is that there are no shaded or comfortable places to sit outside when it is hot.
“You’re in your home, you can't go out...if you go out and get too much sun, you're on medication, then you're going to pass out on the street somewhere. So, the only place to be safe is in your home, so you sit there all day, every day watching T.V.,” Lee says.
A $2 million investment from the Bank Of America, New York state and the Bezos Foundation hopes to fix the problem and tackle the major flooding issues that residents have been dealing with due to climate change
"We are looking at 100-year storms and flooding that are now happening every year, sometimes multiple times a year,” says Bridget Griswald, of Groundwork Hudson Valley. “We are looking at extreme heat, which is essentially, of all the natural disasters that kill more than all the others combined."
The plan is to create bioswales, which are landscaped depressions that absorb stormwater, as well as rain gardens. Trees will also be planted outside for shade, seating will be created and a community garden will be built.
Lee says these plans are life changing.
"I can sit out, I can have relationships with my neighbors, have lunch outside, just get out and have air,” she says.