New York, Dec 1 (IANS) Researchers have revealed that the number of affordable housing units in the US coastal areas vulnerable to flooding could triple by 2050 as the planet heats up.
According to a report from The Verge, more than 24,000 homes could be flooded at least once a year by 2050, compared to about 8,000 in 2000.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, ranks the states and cities at greatest risk. The researchers also unveiled a new interactive map that people can use to see how their hometown might be affected.
According to the researchers, as the world warms, seas rise. That means tides are creeping further ashore, and storm surges are becoming a bigger threat to homes along the coast.
The encroaching waters are just one-way climate change is transforming cities, and the dangers are piling up on lower-income communities.
“I hope this can guide policy that will help the people who are most vulnerable to coastal flooding, which is low-income people in affordable housing. We feel like we’ve really pinpointed that problem with this study,” said study co-author Benjamin Strauss, who is also chief scientist and CEO of the non-profit research organisation Climate Central.
The study revealed that 75 per cent of the affordable housing stock vulnerable to future floods is concentrated in just 20 cities and those cities are where policymakers can make the biggest difference in residents’ lives by making housing there more resilient.
Many homes lining US coastlines are vulnerable to flooding — not just affordable housing.
The researchers wanted to focus on homes for lower-income residents because they’re often older buildings that could have a harder time standing up to the stress of climate-related disasters.
Residents here might also have less money and political clout to push for changes to infrastructure so that their homes are better protected.
There’s already a shortage of affordable housing in the US, according to the non-profit National Housing Trust, which contributed to the study. Climate change could make that situation worse, the Verge reported.
New Jersey affordable housing residents fare the worst under the study’s projections for 2050.
In the model, the state has the most units at risk of flooding at least once a year: 6,825, which is a fourfold jump from 2000.
About 45 per cent of those homes could see flooding up to four times a year. New Jersey’s Atlantic City ranks as the second-highest most vulnerable American city on the list, where more than half of all affordable housing could flood at least once yearly.
New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Florida complete the list of top five states where seawater encroaches on the greatest number of affordable housing units, the study noted.