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Pedro Nicolas and his family struggled to find livable housing in Thermal, California, where many impoverished residents live in sun-baked trailers without basic infrastructure like potable water.

The Climate Gap and Housing

Are climate change and explosive development out West on a collision course?

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Supported by McKinsey & Company. Learn more about sponsorships.

As megafires rage out West and century floods batter the Eastern Seaboard, the nation faces critical infrastructure challenges when it comes to combating climate change. Chief among them is housing, which is our first line of defense against an increasingly inhospitable environment. For this event, ProPublica has convened climate and housing experts to explain how climate change has magnified the affordable housing crisis and to discuss potential solutions.

Our speakers include:

  • Juan De Lara, associate professor, University of Southern California
  • Monica Telles, development specialist, Riverside County, California
  • Ben Metcalf, managing director, Turner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Liz Weil, reporter, ProPublica (moderator)

In a recent ProPublica article, Weil painted a dystopian portrait of Thermal, California, a town on the front lines of climate change. In the Coachella Valley, wealthy part-time residents keep their second (or third, or fourth) homes and park their cars in climate-controlled garages. On the east side, Thermal’s full-time residents, who are 99% Latino, live in uninsulated, sun-baked trailers and struggle to make ends meet. This is the “climate gap” — the sometimes hidden and often-unequal impact climate change will have on people of color and the poor. Increasingly, this gap is impossible not to see. This event will unpack what the “climate gap” means, address potential solutions and answer your questions.

Supported by McKinsey & Company. Learn more about sponsorships.