[NEWS] Heavy rain, floods, and heat: How climate change makes life tougher for unhoused people in the Philly area
"Colt Steinmetz, 19, remembers wading knee-deep in floodwaters and feeling the burn of stinging nettles as he struggled to help people salvage shopping carts filled with gear.
It was a day in early July. The Schuylkill River had overtopped its banks and flooded a flat, secluded area along the river bank in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where Steinmetz and several other people experiencing homelessness had set up camp.
As the water crept toward his tent, Steinmetz rushed to save his possessions. He had time to grab his backpack before the water reached it.
“Tents were destroyed,” he said. “All my clothes. My friend’s clothes. All her parents’ stuff, just gone. Her car got destroyed.”
About 15 miles upstream, a weather station in Reading recorded that more than 5 inches of rain — about a month’s worth — had fallen in a single day.
Across the country, human-caused climate change is driving extreme weather, displacing people from their homes and exposing those without housing to new realities. The Northeast region of the United States is already seeing longer and more severe heat waves, as well as more extreme precipitation — which can lead to dangerous flooding — according to the latest National Climate Assessment.
Steinmetz and the more than 1,800 other people living unsheltered in the Philadelphia region are getting a front-row seat to the local impacts of climate change."