Climate Change Action with AIM

This fall, Action in Montgomery kicked off its climate organizing with members of Safe Places, the Tenants Association at Cider Mill Apartments. It started with a small tenants’ community meeting where residents identified how poor housing conditions, gas appliances and other issues they have been working on are connected to climate change.

Safe Places, led by co-chair and organizer, Adama Housana Moussa, has started an NO2 and gas leak measuring campaign at Cider Mill. They have already visited and measured over 50 families’ homes and have found indoor levels of NO2 are higher than the EPA recommended outdoor levels. In some areas gas leaks have also been detected putting their community at risk for fires and explosions.

On December 7, more than 50 tenants and community members took their concerns to the Department Environment. These included leaking roofs, inefficient buildings, incredibly high electricity bills, toxic mold and NO2 in people’s apartments. Tenants highlighted severe issues with mold being ignored or simply painted over as opposed to reconstruction or treatment. Many residents have also seen their electric bills increase from less than $50 to over $300 in the past year. Safe Places shared how these concerns impact the health of their children, the safety of their homes and their financial stability. Tenants asked DOE to make sure that their apartments are prioritized for weatherization and electrification.

The Department of Environment is working on regulations that will impact whether and how apartments like Cider Mill are included in upcoming weatherization and electrification, which would eliminate the use of “natural” gas in their homes.

At the action, many families signed up for NO2 testing in their home. Tenants will continue to organize to make sure DOE and Maryland don’t leave tenants behind when it comes to upgrading our homes and infrastructure as we address climate change, and that the state provides funding for communities like Cider Mill so that all communities can have a safe, healthy and green community for themselves and their families.