Workshop: Affordable Housing at Risk from Rising Seas

Dec 4, 2020

New research shows the number of affordable rental housing units at risk from coastal flooding and sea level rise is expected to more than triple during the next three decades.

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VIEW WORKSHOP RECORDING

Climate Central and the National Housing Trust held an online workshop on December 1, 2020, to discuss the exposure of the  nation’s affordable housing stock to coastal flooding and sea level rise, with experts on climate, housing, and resilience. Main points covered:

  • By 2050, virtually every coastal state is expected to have at least some affordable rentals exposed to more than one “coastal flood risk event” per year, on average—up from about half of coastal states in the year 2000.
  • New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts have the largest share of affordable housing stock and number of units at risk; projections for New York City, Atlantic City, and Boston show that each city could have thousands of units exposed to chronic coastal flooding by 2050.
  • There is already a scarcity of affordable homes. Housing that’s at risk of flooding or any other climate impacts can often be protected, but such protections come with costs..
  • Physical protective infrastructure is half the battle; persistent stressors of structural racism, income disparity, and inequitable access are also drivers of climate risk. 
  • Scientists can quantify risks at high levels but local community members and leaders can provide the kinds of local insights needed to reduce those risks.
  • Recapitalization of affordable housing buildings, such as refinancing and redevelopment, provide opportunities to better prepare existing housing from floods and other climate risks, often at lower costs than at other times. 

VIEW WORKSHOP RECORDING

Panelists 

Climate Central Resources

Climate Central’s Sea Level Rise program has developed a number of interactive tools. The affordable housing map allows users to explore what affordable housing in the U.S. could be threatened by sea level rise and coastal flooding in the coming decades, under multiple pollution scenarios. The map allows users to examine affordable housing at risk by state, city, county, congressional district, state legislative district, or zip code.You can change the water level map at Climate Central's Coastal Risk Screening Tool to explore what areas may flood from a certain level of storm surge. Check out the Risk Finder tool to see what populations, infrastructure, and contamination risks lie below a given water level. 

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