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In Focus

May 2010 - Disaster Resistant Housing

In the Toolbox

This issue of In Focus highlights how state and local governments can improve the disaster resistance of homes. At the household level, state and local practitioners can educate, train and provide financial support to residents, builders and related service providers to incorporate "smarter and safer" construction techniques and improvements to make homes more resistant to natural hazards. At the community level, government agencies and supporting organizations can create and enforce stronger building codes and implement sound planning strategies that reduce the risk of property damage and loss of life, particularly for vulnerable populations such as lower income residents.

The Center for Housing Policy, with support from WeatherPredict Consulting, has developed an online toolkit to emphasize the need for greater attention to improving the disaster resistance of housing in areas vulnerable to natural disasters. In particular, it explores ways to help lower income families pay for upgrades and retrofits that can improve the disaster resistance of homes.

Learn more about making homes more resistant to natural disasters and access a series of briefs providing an overview of this topic.

Visit the Toolbox!

Out Loud" Podcast

This month's Out Loud podcast features an audio recording from's March 25 Live at the Forum event, "Making Homes More Resistant to Natural Disasters." Guest speakers introduced the Center for Housing Policy's new Disaster-Resistant Homes online toolkit and a series of related policy briefs. The event provided information on several advocacy efforts and programs aimed at expanding financial support and incentives for disaster resistant home construction and renovations.

The audio portion of this event features Guest speakers Ryan Sherriff from the Center for Housing Policy and Mike Cohen from RenaissanceRe. Leslie Chapman-Henderson of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and Ann Roberson of the SC Safe Home program also took part in the call to share their experiences designing, implementing and managing successful programs at the state and local level that help make homes more resistant to natural disasters.

Listen to the Podcast!

Solutions in Action

After working with FEMA to update its Flood Insurance Rate Map in 2000 based on current land use and development conditions, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (which includes the City of Charlotte) conducted an analysis to determine how projected future development under current land use and zoning regulations would affect the actual floodplain levels.

The county compared the potential flood damages that would likely occur under the maximum build-out scenario for both the current (2000) floodplain areas and the newly projected floodplain areas. They discovered that there would be an estimated $333 million in additional damages under maximum build out when building according to the current land use and flood plain designations. In response to this study, the county revised its zoning code and land use regulations based on the projected change in the floodplain.

Learn more about this Solution in Action

Share Your Story

What can your community do to promote better building and rehabilitation practices, and to improve land use planning strategies and regulations to make residential development safer in the face of natural disasters? How can your community finance these efforts and link them to efforts to improve the energy efficiency of homes? Join our new discussion group, Housing & Natural Disasters, on the Forum to add your own questions and share your experiences with fellow housing practitioners across the country.

Visit the Forum to Share Your Story!


Did a colleague forward this newsletter to you? Keep In Focus coming to your inbox by joining today! Signing up will also keep you in loop about other National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy news and events.

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Webinar on Disaster Resistant Homes
Join us on Friday, May 28 from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. - 12:30 pm. Pacific) for a webinar highlighting several initiatives and programs aimed at combining funding streams and incentives to make homes more disaster resistant and energy efficient. The event will provide a demonstration of the Center for Housing Policy's new Disaster-Resistant Homes toolkit that was briefly introduced during the Center's March 25 Live at the Forum event.

Register for the Webinar

Featured Gallery Entry:
Meadowlark House, Greensburg, KS

Photo courtesy of Steven Learner Studio


April 2010 -
In Focus: Housing Solutions Week Recap
December 2009 - In Focus: Coordinated Housing and Transportation Policies
September 2009 -
In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership and Asset Building
July 2009 -
In Focus: Post-Conference Edition
April 2009 - In Focus: Learning Conference
March 2009- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
December 2008- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
November 2008-- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
October 2008-- In Focus: Transit-Oriented Development
September 2008-- In Focus: Inclusionary Zoning
August 2008 -- In Focus: Rental Housing Preservation
July 2008-- In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership
June 2008 -- In Focus: Green Affordable Housing -- This issue of In Focus kicked off a series of Six Housing Policies for a World of High Energy Costs
May 2008 -- In Focus: Foreclosure Prevention
April 2008 -- In Focus: Employer-Assisted Housing
February 2008
-- was launched in January 2008 as part of Housing Solutions Week. Click here to view materials from the week.