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HUD Releases Climate Adaptation Plan

As part of the President's plan to confront the changing climate, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a plan on how it can adapt to a world with a changing climate and to ensure that its operations are resilient to potential impacts. 

The plan was announced alongside 23 other federal agencies who each released their own set of plans. 

“With the Climate Adaptation Plan, HUD is taking an agency-wide approach in prioritizing climate resilience because we cannot put America on the path to building a stronger and more sustainable housing infrastructure without addressing the impacts of climate change,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. 

“Federal agencies, and the people they serve, face a multitude of risks caused by climate change,” a press release on the plan said. “This includes rising costs to maintain and repair damaged infrastructure from more frequent and extreme weather events and health and safety challenges to the communities across the country. Acting now to manage climate risk will increase the resilience of communities to wildfires, extreme heat, tropical storms, heavy rains, and other disasters made worse by a changing climate.” 

The plan addresses five major areas the agency will focus on in a changing world. They are as follows:  

  • Updating climate risk data and research: the HUD will collect building-level data throughout the agency that will map existing risks and other environmental concerns. The data will help guide the agency in creating future plans on how to protect the agency's physical assets and focus on underserved areas first. HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research will assess the effectiveness of current building efficiency codes to see if they can be improved and research recovery programs to determine if they are being properly utilized. 
  • Reducing climate-related financial risks in mortgage financing: the agency is collaborating with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture to integrate climate related risk into the loan terms for a home, and is looking into ways to incentivize developers to construct water and energy efficient homes using climate resilient materials. 
  • Strengthening disaster recovery and resilience: HUD will update its grant requirements to make sure that energy efficient and climate resilient materials are used when building back communities after a disaster and will devote more resources to its floodplain management regulations to minimize impacts on that front. 
  • Building a more equitable future: Climate change is predicted to impact certain groups more than others, and will exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities. The agency will address these challenges when it comes to “low-income, communities of color, tribal communities, individuals with disabilities, and other protected classes.” 
  • Identifying leadership and accountability: The HUD has created new departments and positions to ensure that steady progress is made across the agency in its efforts to combat climate change. The Climate and Environmental Justice Council will manage the implementation and monitoring of the climate adaptation plan and is responsible for the long-term integration of climate and environmental justice into HUD’s programs and operations. 

The White House Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Management and Budget seeks public comment on the agency climate adaptation plans. Members of the public may submit comments via the docket at regulations.gov (Docket ID: CEQ–2021–0003) until Nov. 6, 2021. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at kyle.horst@thefivestar.com.

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