West Virginia’s Leaders and Advocates Work Together to Build Flood Resilience

Collected resources highlight efforts focused on communities bearing the brunt of climate-related disasters

State-Local Collaborations Boost Flood Resilience in WV

Homeownership is the largest source of wealth for most American families, and obtaining a safe, traditional 15-to-30-year mortgage is a key step toward achieving financial security. But outdated housing policies and financial regulations have made small mortgages—those for homes priced under $150,000—expensive for lenders and unavailable for millions of qualified and creditworthy borrowers, especially Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous households and those in rural communities. With limited access to small mortgages, many of these families turn to alternative financing arrangements, which often involve financial risks and lack many of the protections traditional mortgages offer.

People trudge through the mud left over from the flooding of the Elk River along State Route 119, on June 25, 2016 in Falling Rock, West Virginia.
Flood victims trudge through mud left behind after more than 10 inches of rain fell on West Virginia in June 2016. The resulting flood was among the deadliest in the state’s history, claiming 23 lives, mostly in Greenbrier County.
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Since 2010, West Virginia’s communities have endured more than 1,600 flood events. Extreme rains—driven by climate change and development that inhibits the natural landscape’s ability to absorb and channel excess water—are the leading contributors to flooding in the state. Now, stakeholders throughout West Virginia are taking action to make the state more flood resilient.

The research and analysis shared here examines those efforts, particularly how partnerships among policymakers, regional planners, flood plain managers, advocates, and communities are shaping policy and practice.

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