2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan - U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development
Climate change is a crisis impacting communities across the United States. From severe storms and flooding, to wildfires, drought, and extreme heat, Americans are already feeling the effects. As the Federal agency tasked with creating strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes, HUD is on the front lines of the nation’s efforts to increase resilience to climate impacts.
HUD has significant influence over how the Nation’s households and communities will respond to the climate crisis. In addition to public and assisted housing, HUD’s FHA-insured portfolio consists of 7,627,918 single family insured loans, 11,213 multifamily insured loans (1,405,260 units), 3,825 residential healthcare facilities, and 88 hospitals with $1.2 trillion, $111 billion, $33 billion and $6.3 billion respectively of mortgage balances (as of June 30, 2021).
Further, the Department invests billions of dollars every year in housing, infrastructure, and services in neighborhoods and cities across the U.S. through its ever-increasing role in disaster relief and recovery. This investment includes over $89.8 billion appropriated since 1993 by Congress for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grants, $15.9 billion of which is allocated for CDBG-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) for States and local governments that experienced Presidentially-declared disasters in 2015 – 2018. HUD’s disaster-related grants have driven innovation and elevated the national conversation on resilient recovery through Rebuild by Design and the National Disaster Resilience Competition.
The most recent National Climate Assessment from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) 1 underscores the necessity of HUD’s climate change mitigation and adaptation work. It shows that climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the U.S., presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and economic prosperity. Though these challenges are universal, our Nation’s low-income families and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change due to historic disinvestment and a longstanding pattern of residential segregation. For low-income households and communities of color, climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in their communities, such as aging infrastructure and the siting of toxic waste facilities.
Responding to this crisis is core to the Department’s mission, which is why HUD recently established an internal Climate and Environmental Justice Council with representation at the Assistant Secretary level. HUD’s Senior Advisor for Climate Change will lead the Council with support from the Office of Environment and Energy. The Climate and Environmental Justice Council will manage the implementation and monitoring of the climate priorities detailed in this plan. This Council is the main body responsible for the long-term integration of climate and environmental justice into HUD’s programs and operations.
In recognition of this responsibility, the Climate and Environmental Justice Council will also be developing the next phase of this adaptation plan, which will incorporate mitigation and environmental justice. HUD plays an essential role in mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, due to its portfolio of approximately 4.5 million public and assisted housing units. Furthermore, because HUD’s programs focus on improving the lives and environments of low- and moderate-income individuals, HUD must also be a leader in achieving environmental justice. In the coming months, HUD will build off the work in this plan and develop a strategy that incorporates both carbon reduction and environmental justice actions, together creating a comprehensive agency Climate Action Plan.