Climate change exerts additional, disproportionate stress on lower income communities. As climate disruptions intensify, the climate resilience of buildings, especially in response to flooding and extreme heat, will be integral to protecting the health and safety of residents. As affordable housing providers, SAHF members understand the importance of resilient, affordable homes for households’ and communities’ preparedness for climate-related disruptions.
Yet, staff capacity, limited technical knowledge, and financial resources are challenges in addressing resilience faced by many affordable housing providers, including SAHF members. The level of difficulty can be heightened if the housing provider operates a multi-state portfolio. Through mapping, housing providers can prioritize properties and determine strategies to enhance properties' resilience against most disruptions – natural or man-made.
A critical step that SAHF and its members have taken to address this challenge has been to conduct an ArcGIS mapping exercise that assesses and visualizes the portfolio’s exposure to different climate hazards based on property locations. This location-based analysis was coupled with the identification of building-specific climate mitigation and adaption strategies and resources that are relevant to multifamily affordable housing providers.
SAHF Portfolio Hazard Mapping
Using publicly available datasets and tools, SAHF and members are exploring how different climate hazards may impact their portfolio and the communities they serve. The information can be used to inform a portfolio-level analysis that housing providers can complete internally as part of their resilience planning. For SAHF members and other housing providers with large portfolios, a portfolio-level analysis can help prioritize limited resources for climate resilience measures. Existing tools and publicly available mapping data sets enable affordable housing providers to assess the level of climate risk based on a property’s location and historical data.
SAHF’s mapping exercise drew on sources used in Enterprise Community Partners’ Portfolio Protect along with other publicly available mapping data sets based on historical data. The exercise prioritized natural hazards that are attributed to or exacerbated by climate change, and are listed below:
Flooding & Sea Level Rise
- USA Flood Hazard Areas
- Sea Level Rise Inundation - 3ft Above MHHW
- Sea Level Rise Inundation - 6ft Above MHHW
- Historical annual precipitation (CONUS) (Image Service)
- Future annual precipitation (CONUS) (Image Service)
- Historical 10-Year Drought
- Future 10-Year Drought
- Wildfire Hazard Potential, Version 2018 Classified
Accounting for socio-economic factors can provide another meaningful way for housing providers to evaluate communities' ability to respond to natural or human-caused stresses and disasters and to distribute personnel and resources to a property or community that is less likely to recover from a disaster without additional assistance.