The impacts of climate change, combined with a national insurance crisis, are limiting Americans’ ability to choose where to live, The Hill reports. Decades of American housing policy laid the foundation for a national insurance crisis tipped over by climate change, in which insurers are raising premiums and deductibles, cutting risky properties from their portfolios, or fleeing climate-vulnerable states altogether. The crisis is especially acute in California and along the Gulf Coast.

When an area becomes uninsurable, “it becomes uninhabitable,” Public Citizen’s Anne Perrault told The Hill, and the flight of private insurers is pushing increasing numbers homeowners to state-backedinsurers of last resort.’

All of this is increasing the already-expensive cost of housing and sticking homeowners, like those in Paradise, California, who survived the 2018 Camp Fire, into an impossible situation. “They can’t stay in their home,” said Seana O’Shaughnessy, of the Community Housing Improvement Program, “but they can’t leave either, because they can’t sell their home. And anyway, their community is here.”

The impacts of the overlapping crises are especially dire for communities of color. “We see that those formerly redlined neighborhoods are the ones exposed to polluting facilities or elevated heat — which is one of most common causes of health-related issues,” Michela Zonta, a housing policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, said. Black communities are disproportionately at risk for flooding, Zonta added, and “A lot of insurance companies are abandoning areas with flooding risks.” (The Hill)