USA: As floods push homes higher, the disabled risk being pushed out
By Christopher Flavelle
Now, as rising seas, warmer weather and more intense rainfall push flood levels higher, two things are happening: Jurisdictions are setting more aggressive elevation requirements, and more homes are being damaged or destroyed, which means the buildings that replace them are constructed to the updated standards.
The result is waves of transformation in places such as the Northeast after Sandy, as entire neighborhoods of older, low-rise bungalows are wiped out, then reconstituted up in the air. Resilience experts generally praise those changes, calling them necessary to protect residents against the next storm.
And if that means the disabled or elderly have to live somewhere else, some say, then perhaps that’s the price of safety.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees. If engineered responses to climate change force the disabled from their homes, the result will be weaker and poorer communities, said Marcie Roth, who until last year was senior adviser for disability issues at FEMA.
“It’s fine to say, well, some people just can’t live here. Does that also mean they can’t work here?” said [Marcie] Roth, who now runs the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies. “When your community can accommodate a broad cross-section of people, that’s far better for business, far better for the economic engine of that community.”