Since 2006, The Center for Working Families ("The Center") has been working with community-based organizations, elected officials, policy advocates, and environmental organizations to develop and implement ambitious policy reform agendas. With a focus on creating income, health, and job equality, The Center works with local allies to build the momentum and capacity necessary to reform policies which disproportionately affect low income families in New York state. Since 2007, The Center has viewed addressing the challenge of climate change as a chance to redress long-standing inequalities in race, class and opportunity through their Green Jobs/Green NY (GJGNY) program. Developed in partnership with a diverse coalition GJGNY is a comprehensive blueprint for a new green economy structured for broad public benefit, and for the reduction of carbon emissions from residential buildings in all sectors, including homes owned by hard-to-reach low income families. The innovative program removes long-standing barriers of financing, contracting and program design within the energy retrofit sector, and works to build new relationships between different stakeholder groups such as grassroots organizations, workforce trainers, unions, contractors, environmental groups, utilities groups, and state agencies to make community-scale retrofitting a reality.
The Center's capacity to work on multiple fronts with a diverse group of stakeholders has been key to its continued success in the green retrofitting sector, and its unique mix of expertise in community organizing, finance, policy, and implementation strategies have shown it to be a clear leader in this growing area; in September 2009 the New York State legislature passed the Green Jobs-Green NY Act based on the Center's policy blueprint and directed $112 million to the program. Signed into law in October 2009, the GJGNY program is set to launch in late 2010. The GJGNY program will be the largest residential retrofit program ever initiated in the United States and will serve as a model for regional and national replication.
If properly implemented, the program will have a significant impact in New York state, and will:
Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.