HUD Releases Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan
Recently, more than 20 major federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and HUD came out with new climate adaptation plans. The plans started from an executive order from President Biden calling for a whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change. The idea is to “embed adaptation and resilience planning and implementation” throughout agencies’ programs and operations, and to continually update those plans.
The various plans detail changes in how agencies administer programs, maintain their facilities, and use their reach to have a positive effect on communities across the country. “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. Highlights from HUD’s plan include:
Updating climate risk data and research. HUD will update its policies and operations to create a more climate-resilient system. As a first step, HUD will collect building-level data across HUD programs to map existing climate risks and environmental justice concerns. This will help inform on how to best address climate impacts and protect HUD-assisted assets and their occupants, with a focus on underserved communities. HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research will work to assess the effectiveness of current building efficiency codes and recovery programs and identify resilience best practices that the agency can adopt to promote investments in climate resilience.
Strengthening disaster recovery and resilience. HUD recognizes the need to better protect America’s communities from the impacts of climate change. HUD will update Disaster Recovery and Mitigation grant requirements to promote resilience and environmental justice, ensuring that communities recovering from disasters are more resilient in the future. HUD will also strengthen its floodplain management regulations to focus on increasing flood resilience, promoting environmental justice, improving fiscal security, and minimizing adverse impacts to the beneficial functions of floodplains and wetlands.
Building a more equitable future. Climate change and its impacts exacerbate existing health and socioeconomic inequities, placing certain populations at particular risk. To address environmental inequities, HUD will create spaces for mutual learning around climate change, its impacts, and environmental justice issues impacting low-income, communities of color, tribal communities, individuals with disabilities, and other protected classes.
Identifying leadership and accountability. Agencies have tasked senior leadership with ensuring steady progress on agency-wide adaptation and resilience efforts. HUD has established an internal Climate and Environmental Justice Council with representation at the Assistant Secretary level and led by HUD’s Senior Advisor for Climate Change with support from the Office of Environment and Energy. 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.