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American Planning Association Hazard Mitigation Policy Guide

July 2020

The American Planning Association (APA) “Hazard Mitigation Policy Guide” was published in 2020 and provides guidance to federal, state, and local hazard mitigation planners regarding best practices on community preparedness, health, resilience, and sustainability. It covers a wide array of climate- and non-climate-related natural and human-caused hazards. As a whole, the guide recommends that response and recovery improve resilience to future risks such as climate change.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Resilient Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Resilient Baton Rouge is a program designed to increase local community capacity in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana to manage mental and behavioral health in flood-prone parts of the region. By engaging local leaders and healthcare providers, the program has been able to focus on not only delivering mental health services to residents displaced by floodwaters, but also to engage community members in a longer-term process to strengthen both the local communities themselves but also the plans to increase resilience in the region. By deeply engaging affected residents and stakeholders, the plans for resilience broadly are more responsive and targeted to those most affected by the floods. The program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with fiscal sponsorship from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Million Trees Miami - Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County, Florida’s Million Trees Miami initiative aims to plant 1 million trees in lower-income communities with insufficient tree canopy in order to alleviate heat stress in the county. This initiative stems from the County’s 2006 Street Tree Master Plan, which set a goal to achieve 30% tree canopy in Miami-Dade by 2020. Neat Streets Miami, a multi-jurisdictional County Board, is working to implement this goal through the Million Trees Miami initiative. Through a 2016 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, the County determined that lower-income areas, including predominantly African American and Hispanic neighborhoods, had significantly less tree canopy than their wealthier counterparts. As a result, the County is prioritizing tree planting in its most impoverished and low-canopy areas through initiatives such as the Street Tree Matching Grant. Increased tree canopy cover in communities provides many important adaptation benefits, including protection from flooding, urban heat island mitigation, and improved water and air quality. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Tiered Assistance Program

2017

The City of Philadelphia created the Tiered Assistance Program (TAP) in 2017 in order to address water affordability for low income communities. In Philadelphia, water affordability is an issue that affects a large number of families - between April 2012 and January 2018, 40% of households either had unpaid bills or some other sort of water debt. To address this issue, the Philadelphia Water Department implemented TAP, a program that allows customers to pay water bills at a percent of their income - this payment is capped at 3%. Through this program’s fixed rates, Philadelphians who are struggling to pay their water bill can budget more accurately and access more affordable water, which is predicted to result in increased payment rates and reduced water debts.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Duke Energy Progress Partners with RETI for Community Solar

Duke Energy Progress (DEP) worked with the nonprofit, Renewable Energy Transition Initiative (RETI), to increase access to renewable energy programs for lower-income residents. This program provides an example of how utilities can use equity considerations to inform the deployment of renewable energy programs and resources. RETI works to eliminate high energy costs and make renewable energy solutions more accessible through educational programs, community outreach, research, advocacy, and partnerships. RETI promotes income-based applications and brings awareness to this energy saving program through engaging with communities at local community events and churches. DEP and RETI also launched The Shared Solar program for its residential and non-residential customers to be able to share in the economic benefits from a single solar facility. The cost savings from this community solar program are allocated to low-income customers in the company’s territory.

 

Resource Category: Funding

 

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New York City, ConEd Storm Hardening and Resiliency Collaborative

The Storm Hardening and Resiliency Joint Agreement demonstrates how community-based organizations can advocate for investments in grid resilience and ensure that investments are made without significant rate increases for low-income customers. Vulnerabilities and inequities in energy infrastructure were exposed following Superstorm Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, which caused significant impacts to New York City’s (NYC) energy system. To protect customers, the region, and energy systems from future natural disasters, Consolidated Edison, Inc. (ConEd) proposed a $1 billion capital investment for years 2013 through 2016 to mitigate impacts of future extreme weather, protect infrastructure, harden energy system components, and facilitate restoration. The utility organized a “Resiliency Collaborative” process to decide on how funds will be spent in their rate application filing. A collaboration of 12 parties including ConEd, NYC agency officials, and nonprofit and academic stakeholders resulted in a Joint Agreement between state Public Service Commission (PSC), ConEd, and other collaborative parties that froze electric rates for two years and required $1 billion in investment in storm hardening and resiliency. The multi-year rate plans ensure that delivery rates will not increase until after the rate plans have ended. The plan also offers rate mitigation for customers while assuring continued safe and reliable service. The agreement also provides for the expansion of the ConEd low-income discount programs to ConEd’s electric and gas businesses for the benefit of low income customers.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Flood Factor

June 2020

In June 2020, First Street Foundation released Flood Factor, a free online tool Americans can use to determine their property’s flood risk and understand the ways that flooding is changing due to climate change. Flood Factor presents flood risk data in a user-friendly way by quantifying and communicating flood risk to property owners. The platform indicates that over 25 million properties in the U. S. are at risk of flooding over the next 30 years and First Street Foundation suggests that Flood Factor is a helpful resource for property owners across the country.

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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North Carolina 2020 Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan

June 2, 2020

The North Carolina Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan is the state’s first climate change adaptation plan. It includes the results of vulnerability assessments within 11 critical sectors, climate justice concerns and strategies, and recommendations for nature-based solutions to enhance ecosystem resiliency and sequester carbon in the state’s natural and working lands. North Carolina Governor Cooper’s 2018 Executive Order 80 directed state agencies to integrate climate adaptation and resiliency planning into their policies, programs, and operations; and mandated that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) lead the development of this climate risk assessment and resiliency plan for the state.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Colorado Future Avoided Cost Explorer (FACE:Hazards) Tool

June 2020

Colorado has advanced recovery resources, but the state's risk profile will continue to increase in the coming years. The state did not have a tool to quantify the cost of future risks, until now. The Future Avoided Cost Explorer or "FACE:Hazards" tool includes a suite of resources that will enable local decisionmakers to evaluate the costs of future risks from flooding, drought, and wildfire across seven economic sectors over different climate and population projections between today and 2050.

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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California's General Plan Guidelines - Environmental Justice Element

June 2020

Developed by California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), this document (“EJ guidelines”) provides guidance for local governments on integrating an Environmental Justice (EJ) Element into the local General Plan. Senate Bill 1000, an amendment to California Government Code Section 65302, mandates that jurisdictions with disadvantaged communities must incorporate an EJ element into general plans. The EJ guidelines provide a history of EJ in California and associated policies, guidance for policymakers in determining if a general plan must include EJ requirements, and guidance for drafting policies and fulfilling these EJ requirements. The EJ guidelines are included in Chapter 4 (Required Elements) of California’s overall General Plan Guidelines. 

Resource Category: Planning

 

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