Exploring Detroit’s Innovative Model for Tackling Energy Insecurity

A webinar exploring how Detroit has taken on energy insecurity issues through creative approaches and cross-cutting partnerships.

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May 23, 2024


12:00–1:15 p.m. ET

Event Details

Energy insecurity is a pervasive problem in the United States, affecting 25% of households. Families and individuals facing energy insecurity often experience difficulty affording energy bills, reduce or forego basic necessities like food and medicine to pay an energy bill, and/or keep their home at an unsafe temperature because of energy cost concerns.

Households that identify as Black and/or Hispanic continue to face energy insecurity at disproportionately higher rates (35%) than white and Asian households (20%). Achieving an equitable and just climate transition requires tackling energy affordability and security in tandem with decarbonization policies. In Detroit, city leadership, NGOs, university researchers and communities have joined together to develop and test innovative approaches to delivering services that improve home safety, efficiency, and affordability for low-income households.

On May 23, Resources for the Future (RFF) hosted "Exploring Detroit’s Innovative Model for Tackling Energy Insecurity," the fifth webinar in RFF's 2024 Exposure event series focused on environmental justice. This virtual panel discussed how these partnerships came together, what has and hasn’t worked, how other communities can replicate Detroit’s successes, and the role of public-private partnerships in advancing community-centered climate solutions.


  • Joshua Elling, Jefferson East, Inc.
  • Dr. Johanna Mathieu, University of Michigan
  • Heather Zygmontowicz, City of Detroit
  • Dr. Tony Reames, University of Michigan (Moderator)

Event Video

About the Exposure 2024 Series

The Environmental Justice Movement has been a part of community conversations for decades and has finally become a focus of national policy. For many low-income neighborhoods, households of color, tribal communities, and other marginalized groups, environmental injustice compounds a legacy of social, economic, and political disenfranchisement.

In 2021–2022, Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Urban Institute hosted a series of webinars known as Exposure, to bring academic, government, and community leaders together to assess environmental justice research across disciplines while exploring gaps in knowledge. In 2024, RFF is holding a second installment where we will take a deep dive into the equity and environmental justice impacts of federal climate policies, particularly in light of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and novel state policies that reflects Justice40 Initiative priorities.

Click here to learn more about Exposure 2024.


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