August 23, 2018

August Top 5: Disaster Resilience

Photo of hurricane damage in Puerto Rico with Monthly Top 5 written across foreground

This month, in the midst of hurricane season and record-breaking wildfires, we are focusing on Enterprise's disaster recovery and rebuilding work. Because targeted, collaborative support and effective planning and preparation are critical to minimizing damage and increasing the impact of resources.

1. Rebuilding Homes and Futures – Together

Last year’s multiple natural disasters marked a turning point for the nation. The 2017 hurricanes and fires that battered Texas, Northern California, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused a tragic loss of life and were the costliest climate events on record.

Laurie Schoeman discusses how, in this time of need, we reached out quickly, partnering with local leaders on the ground to understand and identify their existing assets and unique needs. We continue to support these organizations for the long term because recovery is not a moment – it’s a journey, and Enterprise is in it for the long haul.  

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2. HEART Program Reopens Grant Applications for Hurricane Harvey Recovery

The Housing and Economic Assistance to Rebuild Texas (HEART) program, a grant and technical assistance partnership between the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation and Enterprise, began accepting grant applications from nonprofits in May. Due to an overwhelming number of preliminary proposals, HEART temporarily suspended submissions in June. 

Monica Gonzalez is thrilled to announce that applications have reopened. The first round of grants, awarded to 14 nonprofit organizations, will finance the repair of 47 hurricane and flood-damaged homes, fund emergency rental and utility assistance for households struggling with lost income, and support case management and volunteer management staff to assist with ongoing recovery efforts.

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3. Profiles in Recovery and Rebuilding

In 2017 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria wrought destruction across communities from the Gulf Coast to Puerto Rico, disrupting lives and destroying homes. As part of our recovery and rebuilding work, Enterprise created the Enterprise Hurricane Community Recovery Fund to support short-term relief and longer-term efforts in the most heavily damaged areas.

Profiles in Recovery and Rebuilding is an interview-style blog series between Enterprise's Sara Haas, Monica Gonzalez, Erica Ruiz, and leaders from nonprofits that received funding support to serve low-income residents displaced by those storms.      

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4. Enterprise Testifies Before Congress on Strengthening the CDBG-DR Program

In a House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing this summer, Enterprise vice president for Public Policy Marion McFadden called for permanently authorizing and strengthening the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.

In her testimony, Marion remarked on the increasing frequency and cost of major natural disasters and pointed to evidence that each dollar invested in hazard mitigation saves an average of six dollars in future disaster recovery costs. 

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5. The Climate Strong Island Initiative (CSII)

While island life may conjure images of sunny skies and turquoise waters, an island’s location makes it vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. When events – such as hurricanes or flooding – occur, it takes a long-term commitment to the region to rebuild thriving communities filled with opportunity.

The recovery efforts must do more than just deliver services. They also must create an infrastructure of community leaders and organizations committed to equitable and responsive communities, as well as build infrastructure that can safeguard homes and communities from future risk. Together with partners, Erika Ruiz and her colleagues on the Enterprise Advisors team formed CSII to create a technical and capacity-building network that enables local leaders to design and construct stronger housing and infrastructure; gain the capacity to assess and map disaster-related needs; and advocate for the needs of their communities. 

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