As summer temperatures climb, minority and low-income neighborhoods struggle to stay cool

Ruben Berrios knows the scorching truth: When it comes to extreme heat, where you live can be a matter of life and death.

Mr. Berrios lives in Mott Haven, a low-income neighborhood in New York’s South Bronx, where more than 90% of residents are Latino or Black. Every summer, the South Bronx becomes one of the hottest parts of the city, with temperatures 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than on the Upper West and East sides – lusher, majority-white neighborhoods less than a mile away.

The heat isn’t just uncomfortable. It’s the top cause of weather-related fatalities nationwide, quietly killing an average of 350 New Yorkers each year, according to a city mortality report. As he took a break from his pool game at an apartment complex and older adult community center that serves as a designated cooling space, Mr. Berrios recalled a recent heat wave: “I lost two persons. They were close to me.”

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