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NLIHC Announces Expansion of Disaster Housing Recovery, Research, and Resilience Initiative

Expanded initiative will promote disaster housing research and resilience to support disaster housing recovery for the lowest-income and most marginalized renters.

Washington, D.C. – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) announced today the expansion of its Disaster Housing Recovery, Research, and Resilience (DHR) initiative. Building on the successes of its ongoing Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC), the DHR initiative will promote pro-active approaches to addressing climate change-influenced disasters and climate resiliency to ensure that households with the lowest-incomes are able not only to recover fully after disasters but are protected from the impacts of disasters even before they occur. NLIHC’s DHR initiative will leverage ongoing disaster research and advocacy efforts to tackle these dual challenges in the pursuit of housing justice.

“America’s disaster housing framework is broken and in need of major reform,” said Sarah Saadian, senior vice president of public policy and field organizing at NLIHC. “When disasters strike, the lowest-income survivors – including people of color, seniors, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, people with limited English proficiency, and other individuals – are often hardest hit, have the fewest resources, and face the longest, steepest path to recovery."

"As the impact of climate change worsens, it is crucial that we work to create a recovery framework that prevents racial, income, and accessibility inequities at each stage of response and recovery," said Noah Patton, NLIHC's manager of disaster recovery. "With the expanded DHR initiative, NLIHC will continue to play a crucially important part in this effort."

Since 2017, NLIHC has led the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition, which comprises more than 900 national, state, and local organizations, including many working directly with disaster-impacted communities and with first-hand experience recovering after disasters. The DHRC seeks to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach all impacted households, including the lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and other at-risk populations who are often the hardest-hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterward. The DHRC will continue to play an essential role in NLIHC’s DHR initiative.

To support disaster housing recovery, the DHR initiative will also focus on advancing disaster resilience measures for the lowest-income and most marginalized renters, who are often particularly threatened by disasters because government policies have located their homes in high-risk areas and because policymakers have failed to invest in the infrastructure needed to prevent harm. Not only do resilience and mitigation efforts actively reduce disaster-related risks to life and property, but they can also save money in the long-term, lessening the need for expensive, large-scale recovery projects following disasters. However, for these investments to have the greatest protective and cost-saving effects, they must be implemented equitably – a primary aim of the DHR initiative.

Promoting disaster housing recovery and resilience requires a comprehensive understanding of the potential impacts of disasters on our nation’s affordable housing supply and the people who live in these homes. For this reason, NLIHC's DHR initiative will also encourage and support disaster housing research through its Disaster Housing Research Consortium, which consists of researchers and practitioners from academic, research, and non-profit housing organizations engaged in housing recovery after disasters, and undertake new research into a range of disaster housing-related issues.

“The DHRC has long been a leader in federal efforts to reform the disaster recovery system and ensure resources are provided to those most in need,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Addressing the challenges of the coming years will require a proactive, research-based approach to disaster housing that ensures that disaster survivors with low incomes remain a priority for federal, state, and local governments. The expanded DHR initiative will be instrumental in this effort.”

Learn more about NLIHC’s Disaster Housing Recovery, Research, and Resilience initiative here.