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A Parallel Problem: Climate change-driven housing crises are being witnessed throughout the nation. . In California, unaffordable home prices that have been compounded by wildfires that have destroyed housing, causing a further shortage. This drove some Californians to seek affordable housing in Oregon, only to be met by wildfires and subsequent homelessness.
Shannon King, who left the Bay Area to escape soaring housing costs, moved to a mobile home park in Oregon, where she hoped to raise her children. That park was destroyed in a fire, and King now fears that developers will try to use the land where her home once stood to build trendier more expensive housing. The median rent in Oregon has increased by 14% in recent years, and those displaced by the fires, who have already suffered a financial burden, often don’t have anywhere else to go.
Even those who have homeowners or renters insurance, or received financial aid through FEMA or other programs, may face impossibly low housing availability in their areas. In King’s case, the area has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country at just 2%.
Growing Inequality: Climate change and housing instability continue to disproportionately impact people of color and low-income people. When climate crises strike, it is often low-income housing that is impacted the most; historical discrimination, redlining, and segregation have relegated vulnerable groups to flood and fire-prone areas and left them with outdated infrastructure.
In Oregon, Phoenix City Councilor Sarah Westover said, “it’s like this fire went after the poorest and most vulnerable people in our community,” and emphasized that, “if we want people to stay, we have to take action now to make sure there’s transitional housing…We can’t put our tax base above the needs of the people who live here.”
How do you elect political candidates who will make tackling climate change a priority? That’s the question Caroline Spears and her colleagues sought to answer when they launched the Climate Cabinet Action Fund in 2018, offering tailored climate data, policy ideas, and messaging suggestions to candidates and lawmakers.
Why This Matters: State legislatures play a critical role in crafting and passing policy — to lead on climate and energy policy, paving the way for ambitious national climate action.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer As Maui, Hawaii begins its “managed retreat” from its coastline due to sea-level rise caused by climate change, the county filed a lawsuit this week against big oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips to pay the costs of the move. The suit alleges that the companies knew […]
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