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Recovering Stronger: A Federal Policy Blueprint - US Water Alliance

January 2021

The U. S. Water Alliance’s report “Recovering Stronger: A Federal Policy Blueprint” was released in early 2021 and addresses the acute needs of the nation’s municipal water infrastructure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as long-term underfunding of water resources infrastructure and inequities in access to clean water. The report makes recommendations for how the federal government could make funding for municipal water resources more stable; make water supplies safer; improve access to safe drinking water and wastewater treatment in low-income communities, communities of color, and rural communities; modernize the water sector; improve resilience to climate change; and take a whole-of-government approach to managing the nation’s water resources.

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American Flood Coalition - A Dual Disaster Handbook: 6 Recommendations for Local Leaders Responding to Floods During COVID-19

May 2020

Prepared by the American Flood Coalition in collaboration with the American Public Health Association, the Dual Disaster Handbook provides six recommendations for local leaders to cope with flooding during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. The recommendations emphasize the importance of using emergency planning processes, legal authorities, and volunteers and supplies effectively to simultaneously address dual threats, while focusing in particular on needs of at-risk populations. The Handbook draws on expertise and best practices from emergency management professionals and is intended for use by local officials involved in emergency preparedness and response.

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Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives

January 2021

Housing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are two interrelated issues increasingly affecting cities across the United States. This report provides an overview of how community land trusts (CLTs) can present a solution to help cities mitigate both of these challenges by promoting community ownership and decisionmaking and providing permanently affordable and resilient housing. CLTs are nonprofit organizations with community-led governing structures that hold land in trust for the benefit of the community, often providing and preserving affordable housing, stewarding community amenities like parks and greenspace, and providing low-cost commercial properties that can support small businesses and economic resilience.

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

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A Resilient Future for Coastal Communities: Federal Policy Recommendations from Solutions in Practice

October 2020

The Energy and Environmental Study Institute’s (EESI) October 2020 report contains 30 actionable recommendations, guided by 6 principles, on how the federal government can better support coastal resilience. The report emphasizes throughout the importance of consultation with local communities in designing programs and policies related to adaptation and resilience to ensure their specific needs are met. It also describes how the policy recommendations can be implemented, including identifying Congressional Committees with relevant jurisdiction.

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Annexing and Preparing Higher Ground Receiving Areas in Princeville, North Carolina Through Post-Disaster Recovery Processes

In 2017, the Town of Princeville, North Carolina engaged experts and communities in a long-term, comprehensive planning process to annex a 53-acre parcel of land located outside of the town’s 100-year floodplain to develop a safer, higher ground area where residents, structures, and infrastructure can be relocated. After experiencing flooding impacts from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Princeville was selected as one of six municipalities in North Carolina to receive technical and funding support from the state through the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative. Princeville provides an example for other municipalities either in a pre-or post-disaster context for how to balance the preservation of original townships while dealing with flooding vulnerabilities, while increasing the resiliency of core community assets and services through adaptation actions. As done in Princeville, local governments may consider options for relocating vulnerable residences and community facilities and services, including by annexing new land where sufficient higher ground land within existing municipal boundaries is not available to reallocate critical land uses and maintain local communities, tax bases, and economies.

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Annexing Higher Ground and Preparing Receiving Areas in Hamilton, Washington

June 2021

In 2019, after decades of repetitive flooding, the town of Hamilton in Skagit County, Washington partnered with Forterra, a local land conservancy nonprofit, to annex a 48-acre parcel of land located outside of the town’s 100-year floodplain. Annexing this land will provide Hamilton with a higher, drier ground area where town residents could voluntarily relocate to new homes. Forterra is developing plans for the annexed parcel to build affordable, environmentally conscious homes for Hamilton residents. Hamilton provides an example for other municipalities and local governments either in a pre- or post-disaster context for revitalizing a community challenged by frequent flooding through adaptation actions. As done in Hamilton, local governments may consider possibilities for providing relocation options to residents within a floodplain, including by annexing new land, particularly where sufficient higher ground land within existing municipal boundaries is not available. Annexation can allow local governments to maintain local communities, tax bases, and economies.

 

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A Perfect Storm: Extreme Weather as an Affordable Housing Crisis Multiplier

August 1, 2019

On August 1, 2019, the Center for American Progress published “A Perfect Storm,” a report which analyzes the relationship between the affordable housing and climate change crises, and presents 5 policy recommendations for building more resilient and prepared communities. The report explores the intersection of diminishing affordable housing and rising homelessness, as well as the disproportionate impacts extreme weather events have on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Authors of the report assert that local, state, and federal policymakers must take action to build strong, healthy, accessible, and affordable communities in the face of a changing climate.

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DC Hotel Voucher Program

2020

Under the auspices of D. C. law, the Interagency Council on Homelessness is required to meet the emergency housing needs of both homeless families and homeless individuals in instances of severe weather – whether hot or cold. As a result, the District’s Department of Human Services (DHS) works with hotels and motels in the greater metropolitan area to provide rooms for families and individuals when there are no vacancies at shelters. Due in part, however, to D. C. ’s Homeward initiative and other homeless services, the number of participants in the program have dwindled as people have either been transferred to permanent housing or other shelters.

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Cold Weather Shelter Voucher Program for San Diego, California

1997

Since 1997, San Diego County, California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, in collaboration with the Health and Human Services Agency, implemented the Cold Weather Shelter Voucher Program, which provides emergency hotel and motel vouchers to homeless families and individuals – seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant women – during winter months or inclement weather. Participants are permitted to stay for up to 28 days in the hotel/motel, and during this stay, will have access to resources that will help the individual or families find more permanent housing.

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Denver, Colorado Cold Weather Motel Voucher Program

The Denver Department of Human Services (DHS) offers a Cold Weather Motel Voucher program, which is designed to ensure that homeless families have a temporary place to stay during colder, inclement weather. Vouchers are offered by DHS between October and April, during periods when the temperature drops below 40 degrees and when all Denver shelters are at capacity. Families with children under the age of 18 can apply for a voucher through the program, and stay in a participating motel for up to two weeks.

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