Adapting Affordable Multifamily Housing for a Changing Climate

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CM | 0.75

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify common features of climate hazard exposure mapping for multifamily affordable housing owners, operators, and regulators.
  • Learn to coordinate risk and vulnerability analysis for multifamily affordable housing planning with capital planning and funding processes.
  • Learn how to replicate pragmatic, applicable strategies for multifamily affordable housing resilience across broad, diverse regions.


Review three portfolio-wide approaches to assessing and improving the resilience of affordable multifamily housing in Washington, D.C., Delaware, and Massachusetts. Each project was tailored by leaders in government agencies, in coordination with outside consultants, to use an available climate hazard data set; respond to the unique nature of multifamily affordable housing oversight and funding; and provide assessment, design, and adaptation planning tools specific to the regulator or housing owner/operator audience. This approach is reproducible for other regions and jurisdictions.

In 2017, the Washington, D.C., Department of Energy and Environment sought to create a tool to assess the climate vulnerability of the district’s affordable housing. In 2018, the Delaware State Housing Authority initiated a project to identify climate hazard risk and vulnerability, and to create adaptation planning tools for the state-regulated affordable housing portfolio. In 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development kicked off a project to assess the climate hazard risk and vulnerability of the state-funded public housing portfolio and to create tools to integrate climate adaption into routine capital planning.

Affordable housing residents are often the first impacted, hardest hit, and last to recover from climate hazards. These three projects sought pragmatic, actionable analysis, planning, and tools to meet the needs of historically disenfranchised communities.