WASHINGTON, DC — The American Flood Coalition today launched the Flood Resilient Communities Cohort, a group of five communities in North and South Carolina that will receive support to access federal funding for flood resilience projects. 

Funded by the Kresge Foundation, the cohort will bring together local elected officials and non-governmental leaders to guide communities in the early stages of navigating federal infrastructure funding.

“In 2021, the American Flood Coalition advocated for and successfully secured historic levels of investments for flood resilience. But too often, such federal funds are out of reach for communities on the front lines of flooding,” said AFC Executive Director Melissa Roberts. “Our Flood Resilient Community Cohort will break down these barriers and ensure investments get to the communities that need them the most.” 

Running through July 2024, the cohort includes four localities from North Carolina — the cities of Wallace, Whiteville, Canton, and New Bern — and one from South Carolina — Pickens County. These communities are all at a high risk of flooding and need timely support to take advantage of federal funds. 

In addition to identifying shared experiences and possible barriers to funding, the cohort will  inform efforts to make federal programs more accessible and equitable. The American Flood Coalition will organize feedback from communities and send it to relevant federal agencies, improving outcomes for many more low-resource communities across the country. 

“The Carolinas are especially vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather and flooding,” said AFC Carolinas Director Tony McEwen. “But with the right resources and support, communities across the two states can work together to build long-lasting, scalable resilience that protects future generations from the impacts of flooding and sea level rise.” 

To achieve these outcomes, American Flood Coalition will host group workshops and community-specific sessions. Communities will learn to identify specific flood resilience projects from existing local plans, strengthen those projects by incorporating community input, and understand what federal programs can fund those projects. AFC’s subject matter experts will provide guidance each step of the way. 

With recent legislation to boost flood resilience, the country has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to upgrade America’s infrastructure with resilience in mind. As storms get stronger and more frequent, the infrastructure built from these investments will protect and strengthen our communities for decades to come.