Tuesday, March 7, 2023
New Article: Weathering the Storm: Establishing Internally Displaced People’s Right to Affordable Housing in the Wake of Natural Disasters
Raina Hasan, Weathering the Storm: Establishing Internally Displaced People’s Right to Affordable Housing in the Wake of Natural Disasters, 31 J. L. & Pol'y 177 (February 2023). Abstract below.
In 2020, natural disasters caused more internal displacement than war; floods, storms, and wildfires caused thirty million new displacements globally, and 1.7 million in the U.S. alone. The data and history suggest that masses of people will be displaced every year and will face housing insecurity without any formal acknowledgement of their unique plight or a guarantee that internally displaced persons (“IDPs”) will have protected rights. This Note proposes that, considering the worsening climate crisis leading to more frequent and severe natural disasters, the U.S. should codify the rights of internally displaced people as laid out in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
In order to actualize IDPs’ right to return and resettle, the U.S. should also establish IDPs’ right to affordable housing when natural disasters force people to leave behind their homes and communities. To effectively enforce such rights, the federal government should provide more affordable housing, invest in making the existing affordable housing stock and new affordable housing developments climate resilient, and collect accurate data on IDPs to provide adequate disaster relief, taking special care not to exacerbate gentrification and surveillance concerns. Codifying the rights of IDPs would go a long way in remedying larger systemic issues such as the racial wealth gap and rampant housing insecurity, ultimately furthering environmental justice.