NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The residents of City Line and Paula Maria Village apartments on the Peninsula are on the front lines of the rising threat of climate change.
Congressman Bobby Scott, city leaders and Florida Representative Kathy Castor (D), the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, toured these neighborhoods Tuesday to learn more about the economic and social impact that flooding has on these communities. They say what they’ve learned today puts them on the right track towards change.
The only line of defense for the Paula Maria Village Apartments in Hampton is a line a sand bags, hoping to keep out any high water. However this community and its members know this won’t hold much.
“Of 20 years, that area has flooded 13 times,” said Hui-Shan Walker with Hampton emergency management.
“There is nothing like hearing from folks on the ground. They like their neighborhoods and they want to stay. They just need a little bit of help on trying to prevent the flooding from happening,” Castor said.
After the tour, Castor and Congressman Scott listened to what ideas they have going forward.
“Many people now have been mapped into new flood zones and they’re concerned about affordability and how they are going to be able to afford that flood insurance,” explained Castor.
Walker said that is not the suggestion they brought to the table.
“Maybe consider that the FEMA demo rebuild program cap of $150,000 be lifted. Because if we are trying to rebuild to current standards, the issue now is can we rebuild a home with $150,000?” Walker said.
Scott and Castor say next they’ll take these ideas to Washington and develop policies to combat climate change and flooding. “If we don’t do something today a lot of the areas that are now populated will be underwater,” Scott said.
After getting a better understanding about the risks these communities face, Scott, Castor and others believe they’ll be able to adapt and respond better in the future.