Spotlight On: Alex Acuña, Program Fellow, Democratizing Resilience and Disaster Recovery 

In July 2019, the Enterprise Northern California team welcomed Alex Acuña as a program fellow for the newly established Democratizing Resilience and Disaster Recovery Initiative (DRDR).

Northern California is facing both a crisis of affordable housing and a crisis of climate, with devastating wildfires destroying communities throughout the region. The communities that are most impacted by natural disasters and housing insecurity – low-income communities, communities of color, immigrants, renters and older adults – are the least involved in the process of planning for these events and are least helped by the process of recovery.

To address this challenge, Enterprise’s Democratizing Resilience and Disaster Recovery initiative is developing an online technical assistance platform to help community organizations, the public sector and the philanthropic sector better plan for and recover from future hazardous events. To better understand our analysis of the problems in the field and how DRDR will address these problems. 

Acuña is a proud East Bay native, whose family has lived in Richmond and West Contra Costa County for over 100 years. He is excited to have moved back to the Bay after 10 years between Los Angeles and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he recently received his master's degree in city planning from MIT. At MIT, Acuña worked on several projects, including: 

  • The development of an eviction impact assessment tool in Mexico City with Housing International Coalition
  • Strategies for increasing community ownership opportunities in the Bronx with the Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) and the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI)
  • Post-disaster and post-conflict environmental management and economic development in rural Colombia

Prior to MIT, he worked on anti-foreclosure, anti-eviction and neighborhood improvement campaigns as a community organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in Los Angeles. 

In 2020, Acuña is focused on developing the DRDR platform and all the content that will be included within it. He is particularly excited to be ideating and co-developing this project alongside the numerous cross-sector partners we have been cultivating in this new area of Enterprise’s work. 

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