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The Week Ahead: Examining the Climate’s Impact on Housing Infrastructure

Tornado cityIt will be a busy week for the House Financial Services Committee, as they will hold two virtual hearings dealing with the housing market.

Up first on Tuesday, May 4 at noon EDT, the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance will host the virtual hearing "Built to Last: Examining Housing Resilience in the Face of Climate Change." With the nation’s housing infrastructure vulnerable to the growing costs of climate and weather disasters, the need for maintenance and repair is key.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, increases in the global average temperature are linked to “widespread changes in weather patterns,” and studies have shown that climate change caused by humans will likely lead to more frequent and intense extreme weather events. As a result, many homes in disaster-stricken areas are lost due to a lack of resilient design and poor structural siting.

Among the witnesses scheduled to speak are Rodney Ellis, Commissioner of Harris County, Texas; Ariadna M. Godreau-Aubert, Executive Director of Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico; Andrew N. Mais, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Insurance; and Shelley Poticha, Chief Climate Strategist for the National Resources Defense Council.

The panel will chat about measures being taken to address areas vulnerable to climate change and the status of three key housing and climate related pieces of legislation, including:

  • The “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act” involving the permanent authorization and reformation of the CDBG-Disaster Recovery Program.
  • The “National Flood Program Reauthorization Act of 2021” to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, enacting a number of reforms to place the NFIP on sound financial footing and make the program more resilient, institute a cap on premium increases of 9% per year, and forgive more than $20 billion in NFIP debt.
  • The “Green Neighborhoods Act,” legislation to encourage energy-efficiency, conservation, and the development of renewable energy sources for housing, and to create sustainable communities.

On Friday, May 7 at noon EDT, the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence will host a virtual meeting, “Equitable Algorithms: How Human-Centered AI Can Address Systemic Racism and Racial Justice in Housing and Financial Services.” Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have impacted all aspects of our daily lives. Will AI be able to close the racial divide in housing and finance industry? A panel of witnesses to be named will take a closer look at this issue and suggest remedies to the dilemma.

Here's what else is happening in The Week Ahead:

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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