On March 31, 2022, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) gathered affordable housing and climate resilience leaders for its first Making Affordable Housing Climate Ready roundtable.
As documented in the 2020 book RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, affordable housing is often a key component of community revitalization, but revitalization and resilience must be pursued together in order to create the universal goal of resilient prosperity.
Participants discussed the growing importance of climate resilience for affordable housing to better prepare communities for the future. The virtual event included private and public sector representatives highlighting tools available to encourage, support, incentivize and finance resilient construction that can withstand the storms of today and tomorrow.
“To be a climate ready nation, all our buildings need to be resilient against the conditions they will face. We have the science to build our homes to better withstand severe weather. Yet, that’s not always possible for individual homeowners. We must find the needed financial avenues to bring resilience into every construction project, every re-roofing project and every community,” explained Roy Wright, president and CEO of IBHS.
Following the launch of FORTIFIED Multifamily™ in January, a program to bring resilience to the twenty-six percent of American households living in multifamily housing, the roundtable discussion furthered IBHS’s commitment to affordable resilience as the need for climate adaptation grows. Wright opened the event by detailing the need for resilience across all types of housing to keep communities thriving for decades to come.
During the event, a fireside chat featuring Wright and Pat Forbes, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD), highlighted Louisiana’s leadership in connecting federal and state initiatives to break the cycle of damage, disruption and displacement the state is far too familiar with after disasters.
“Many of Louisiana’s most disaster-prone geographies are also where our most vulnerable populations live,” Pat Forbes said. “Often these populations do not have the resources to rebuild in a way that withstands the increasing frequency and severity of storms that we’re seeing.”
“This means public-funded rebuilding efforts must incorporate building standards like FORTIFIED to help protect all our residents, including those living in affordable housing, against future damage,” Forbes added. “For some time now, OCD has been using resilient standards for construction in its state-funded affordable housing developments, such as the resettlements at Audubon Estates, The New Isle and Les Maisons de Bayou Lafourche.”
“The Louisiana Office of Community Development is leading the way in making communities stronger by bringing resilience to single family and multifamily housing projects across the state and setting an example of what is possible for the nation,” concluded Wright.
The event, moderated by Michael Newman, senior director for law and public policy at IBHS, included a panel discussion with insights from others who are leading the to charge to help ensure affordable housing is climate ready:
- Jennifer Landau, Senior Program Manager, Multifamily Housing Division at the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority;
- Chris Monforton, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Gulf Coast and Vice-Chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Advisory Council;
- Laurie Schoeman, Director, Capital Climate and Sustainability at Enterprise Community Partners; and
- Molly Simpson, Program Manager for Multifamily Green Financing Business at Fannie Mae.
Bringing together leaders in this space who are working to make affordable housing climate ready allows communities nationwide to better understand how to create a more resilient future and reduce the impact of severe weather.
Photo via Pixabay.