Affordable Housing Units Prone to Floods Could Triple by 2050 | Smart News

The amount of affordable housing in the United States that is susceptible to damage and destruction caused by coastal flooding will triple by 2050, reports Daniel Cusick for E&E News.

A new study, published yesterday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, suggests that around 7,668 affordable housing units in the U.S. flood annually. Without swift action to reduce carbon emissions, that number could reach nearly 25,000 units by 2050, reports Oliver Milman for the Guardian. This is the first study of its kind to assess how vulnerable affordable housing units are to flooding and rising sea levels, according to a press release.

According to Reuters, previous studies have forecasted how houses along the coasts will be affected by climate change, but “there’s been much less attention put on these lower-income communities,” says computational scientist Scott Kulp of Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and communicators researching climate change.

The team of researchers used maps of low-cost and federally subsidized housing units and coupled them with flood projections to forecast how communities will be affected in the future, reports the Guardian. They found that states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York are expected to have the highest number of units at risk of flooding at least once a year by 2050, according to the press release.

The U.S. is already facing an affordable housing shortage—there are only “35 units available for every 100 extremely low-income renters,” reports Patrick Sisson for Bloomberg. That amounts to a shortage of 7 million units, so losing any more units will add to the deficit. For example, almost half of the available affordable housing units in New Jersey are projected to flood at least four times per year by 2050.

Within the next 30 years, coastal flooding will affect 4,774 affordable housing units in New York City, 3,167 in Atlantic City and 3,042 in Boston. Other cities will see a huge jump in the number of at-risk units: Miami Beach will see a 1,074 percent increase in at-risk units and Charleston, South Carolina, will see a 526 percent hike by 2050, according to the press release.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on coastal communities all over the world, but people with low incomes are being disproportionately affected by the ensuing hurricanes, floods and rising sea levels.

“The point here is that two neighbors can suffer from the same flood, one living in affordable housing and one in a home they own, and experience a very different outcome,” study co-author Benjamin Strauss, the CEO and chief scientist at Climate Central, tells Bloomberg. “Many more people in the general population will be affected by sea level rise than the affordable housing population. But the affordable population group is the one likely to hurt the most, who can’t afford to find a remedy on their own and tend to not have the voice needed to change the allocation of public resources.”

In the U.S., affordable housing units along the coast tend to be

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Well-below seasonal cold floods the Prairies, little end in sight

Well-below seasonal cold floods the Prairies, little end in sight
Well-below seasonal cold floods the Prairies, little end in sight

After another shot of snow for parts of the southern Prairies Wednesday, Thursday sees the region continue to be flooded with cold, with a below-seasonal trend continuing through the weekend into next week. For snow, the next round looks to spill over the Rockies into parts of Alberta Frida. A closer look, below.


  • Some snow lingers in southern Saskatchewan Thursday

  • Another shot is ahead Friday for Alberta, mostly confined to the southern foothills and mountains

  • Below seasonal temperatures continue through the end of the week to the weekend and beyond


Most of the snow that rolled through the southern Prairies will be just about done Thursday morning, with the exception of some parts of extreme southern Saskatchewan, which could see a few straggler snowflakes into the early afternoon.

Across the region, there’ll be no relief from the cold that’s flooded the region. Manitoba is the only part of the Prairies likely to see the warmer side of zero at the peak of the day, and then only just.

Prairie temperatures Thursday afternoon
Prairie temperatures Thursday afternoon

Beyond, Friday features similar widespread frigid conditions, as the cold air pivots in from northern British Columbia and sends temperatures tumbling into the weekend. Numerous temperature records are expected across the region once again.

Forecasters say there’s another round of snow ahead to close out the week, primarily confined to Alberta, as moisture spills over the Rockies to encounter the cold temperatures.

Some 5-10 cm is expected for areas along the southern foothills and peaks toward the U.S. border, possibly higher locally, while Calgary will pick up just a couple of centimetres.

Prairie system
Prairie system


Click here to view the video


According to Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham, this is unusually early in the season to have such an extended stretch of sub-freezing temperatures. It’s all part of a strong blocking pattern that is much more characteristic of winter.


“Blocking patterns in the Arctic are the key to dislodging Arctic air and sending frigid temperatures plunging south, and that is what we will see during the next two weeks,” Gillham says, adding that several rounds of Arctic air will descend upon western and central Canada during the next 10 to 14 days.

Below seasonal temperatures will dominate the region into early next week, but with some milder weather finally spreading through for the final days of October and early November.

Thumbnail courtesy: Justin Bucklaschuk, Winnipeg, Man.

Be sure to check back as we provide updates on this extended period of winter-like weather.

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