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Redlined US homes face higher flood risks from climate change, new study finds

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In the early twentieth century, American consumer banks were commonly engaged in a systemic lending practice known as redlinant, which denied loans to people of color who wanted to buy houses outside areas of cities deemed “undesirable,” in part because they were built in areas with a higher risk of flooding.

Today, as a result, $ 107 billion in combined value homes are now 25 percent more likely to be flooded than unreduced homes, according to researchers at real estate brokerage firm Redfin. The firm released the results of the analysis of redlined and non-redline communities facing climate change-related flood risks Monday morning.

The report, which examined data from the flood map of 38 major U.S. metropolitan areas, noted that modern U.S. flood risk maps are very similar to the redlinable maps of the 1930s.

In recent years, sea ​​level rise caused by climate change has increased the number of areas at risk of flooding across the country.
Some of these places already have to deal with floods annually. Black owners a Chicago, for example, have complained increased rainfall fueled by climate change overwhelming the city’s sewer system and provoking flood damage to homes which did not have the same flooding problems a decade ago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“The discrimination that happened in the past may seem like it happened a long time ago, but it gets complicated,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather told CNN Business. “It’s not like discriminatory historical practices actually decreased. They seem to actually increase effectively.”

Redfin researchers determined that areas of cities they examined that were not redlined were at risk of suffering or destroying $ 85 billion worth of homes due to climate change-related floods, $ 22 billion less than neighborhoods redefined.

In their report, the firm’s researchers said more than 58% “of homes in neighborhoods that were previously designated undesirable for mortgage loans are not white” and “history has shown that when storms come, communities of color in these previously redlined areas usually suffer the most. “

“[More than] 600,000 properties faced a 100-year flood risk, which is the risk that one of these truly catastrophic floods will affect them, ”Fairweather said.

New Orleans S Telemachus Street is flooded after sudden flooding hit the area in early July 10, 2019.

Fairweather noted the disproportionate impact Hurricane Katrina had on people of color in New Orleans in 2005 and Hurricane Harvey on black and brown Houston residents in 2017 to illustrate their point.

Four of the seven postal codes that suffered the worst flood damage from Katrina had black populations of at least 75%, according to government records cited Scientific American.
A 2017 Think Progress Analysis he found disproportionately black and brown neighborhoods in low-income Houston that Harvey suffered more damage than the wealthier, white communities.

Without public and private intervention, Fairweather said the damage future flooding could cause to redefined areas across the nation could further widen the already huge racial wealth gap that exists between most white Americans and their black neighbors. and Latins.

“We would be back for sure,” Fairweather said. “It really depends on what the policy response is.”

To help solve the problem, the study’s authors recommend that the federal government provide funding so that some small property owners can test the weather resistance of their homes and offer relocation assistance to area owners in their homes. which the weather test may not be sufficient.

“When we provide help for people to move, we should encourage them or insist that they move to places that will not be so affected by climate change,” Fairweather said.

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