When climate change makes home unsafe – The Center for Public Integrity

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Climate Change

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Standing on a bridge between downtown Freeport and its east side, I could see why floods in this Illinois city aren’t equal-opportunity disasters.

On the downtown side of the Pecatonica River, the bank was reinforced with a stone wall. The east bank was lower yet had no protection.

The east side was for years the only part of Freeport where Black people could get home loans, residents said. And while floods in Freeport were nothing new, they were getting worse, hitting east side residents again and again.

Watchdog delivered

Want our investigations in your inbox? Subscribe to our Watchdog newsletter.

Experts warn that climate change will exacerbate long-standing inequities. But seeing it in action is particularly sobering. So much more of this is coming. 

Over the past year, I reported on climate relocation with a team of journalists from Columbia Journalism Investigations, the Center for Public Integrity and Type Investigations. A key takeaway of that “Harm’s Way” series: The federal government isn’t prepared to assist the millions of Americans its own experts believe will need to escape the worst impacts of climate change by moving. 

Cheryl Erving, whose east side home in Freeport sustained major flood damage, put it to me this way: “I feel like we’re up against a wall.” She’s living in conditions that she knows are dangerous and doesn’t trust her government to help her move.  

Early in this project, before it had really taken shape, the reporting team spoke to Miyuki Hino, an environmental social scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She told us that no one knew how many people in the U.S. already wanted help to relocate because of climate change. 

Communities seeking this kind of assistance must cobble together funding from programs spread across federal and state agencies. But the federal government doesn’t keep compreh …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This