NEWS Climate Change, hurricanes make the affordable housing crisis even worse

\Teresa Wiltz, USA Today, for the orig­i­nal, click here.

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Last year, right before Hur­ri­cane Flo­rence hit New Bern, a small river­front city along the North Car­olina coast, Mar­tin Blaney rushed to the pub­lic hous­ing com­plex he runs, bang­ing on doors, yelling: “Evac­u­ate, evac­u­ate, evacuate!”

When the winds set­tled and the rains ended in New Bern, Blaney’s nearby offices were under 6 feet of water. Even worse: Nearly half of New Bern’s pub­lic hous­ing stock – 108 build­ings, all in a flood zone, out of 218 – was under water, too. Twelve build­ings were dam­aged beyond repair. (A nearby pub­lic hous­ing com­plex for seniors, located above the flood zones, was unscathed.)

We didn’t know the destruc­tive force of deep water,” said Blaney, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Hous­ing Author­ity of the City of New Bern. “It blew us away.

All of a sud­den, you’ve got 108 house­holds that need to have a roof over their head.”

Hur­ri­cane sea­son in full swing

Hur­ri­cane sea­son is under­way – and storms that make land­fall might fur­ther exac­er­bate the nation’s short­age of afford­able hous­ing, hous­ing experts say. A new report by Har­vard University’s Joint Cen­ter for Hous­ing Stud­ies said find­ing enough money to make hous­ing stur­dier and fix the dam­age done by increas­ingly fre­quent and severe storms is “an urgent hous­ing chal­lenge for the nation.”



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