This State Has Opened The First-Ever Climate Change Resettlement Community

Twelve homes in a resettlement community for climate change survivors welcomed new owners this week in New Isle, Louisiana.

Local news outlet reported this week that the 515-acre property is an old sugar farm and that the US Department of Housing awarded $48 million for its development back in 2016. Most residents are members of the Jean Charles Choctaw Nation. 700 members of Jean Charles Choctaw Nation have left their namesake island, called Isle de Jean Charles, in recent decades due to excessive flooding.

“This is the very first program of its kind in the nation’s history, where we’re having to move people because of climate change,” Governor John Bel Edwards told a crowd gathered for the community’s opening, via “I wish it wasn’t necessary, but it is.”

At least 37 houses will be built for people who faced Hurricane Isaac back in August 2012, although an additional 25 lots may be given to residents who left before the storm, too.

The houses are free, but residents have to pay for insurance and tax costs. If they occupy a home for five years, they’ll then own it outright.

Edwards stated that there’s no guarantee the new location will never flood, but it’s generally accepted that New Isle is far safer than the tribe’s previous island home, which is now sinking.

New Isle might not be the last of its kind. As climate change worsens around the globe, it’s possible the US will continue to need more of these types of resettlement communities.

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