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Creating a Just Approach to Disasters

The increasing frequency of disasters caused by climate change puts millions at risk of facing extreme storms, heat, fires, and cold each year. During each event just this past year—from the recurring hurricanes in the Gulf to massive wildfires in the Pacific West—we saw how race, wealth, and immigration status intersect with communities’ abilities to protect themselves from, respond to, and rebuild from threats to their lives and livelihoods. As President Biden rolls out his climate policy and Congress debates infrastructure definitions, evidence-based ideas for addressing these crises are essential.

Join Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, for the next installment in Urban’s conversation series, Evidence to Action. To commemorate Earth Day, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) will discuss how the federal government can enable a more just and equitable approach to disaster response. Following that, Carlos Martín, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, Zoe Middleton, Houston and Southeast Texas codirector at the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (Texas Housers), and Sarah Saadian, vice president of public policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition, will join Wartell to discuss the most essential steps communities, state and local governments, and the federal administration can take to ensure underserved communities’ risks are minimized and their protection is prioritized.



  • Brian Schatz, Senator, Hawaii @SenBrianSchatz
  • Carlos Martín, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute @carlosonhousing
  • Zoe Middleton, Houston and Southeast Texas Codirector, Texas Housers @zoyamiddleton
  • Sarah Saadian, Vice President of Public Policy, National Low Income Housing Coalition @SarahSaadian
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute @swartell

The Evidence to Action conversation series elevates the voices of leaders and changemakers responding to, recovering from, and building resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Urban Institute was built for this moment. We answer tough questions with unbiased, rigorous research and evidence-based solutions. For 50 years, we have studied what it takes to strengthen social safety net programs, dismantle structural racism, protect workers and families, and build community resilience. Using advanced analytics, data science, technology, and decades of expertise, we equip changemakers with the facts and insights they need to accelerate solutions.


We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Thursday, April 22, 2021

  • Former Senior Fellow
  • President