On January 28, 2020 Resilience Force and New Florida Majority unveiled their comprehensive new report, A People’s Framework for Disaster Response: Rewriting the Rules of Recovery After Climate Disasters, a groundbreaking examination of the current state of Florida’s hurricane recovery, with a particular focus on the inequities faced by the resilience workforce that support recovery as states like Florida face the dual threat of rising sea levels and ever more powerful and frequent hurricanes.
A People’s Framework for Disaster Response offers expert state and federal policy recommendations which encourage lawmakers for the very first time to bolster the emerging resilience economy and its labor force given this new era of increasing climate disasters. The report also demonstrates that the most important and high-value change in our approach to disasters is to first address the needs of people and how we can bring about collective resilience for the people and communities affected, rather than only prioritizing property rebuilding.
Featured throughout the report are the human stories of loss, rebuilding, recovery, challenge, and resilience in the Florida Panhandle, followed by the framework of comprehensive recommendations to rewrite the rules of disaster recovery on a federal and state level to create a truly climate resilience country.
“I’ve witnessed first hand, in storm after storm since Katrina, how American disaster recovery has become a hidden driver of inequality,” says Saket Soni, Resilience Force Founder & Executive Director. “Poor communities are pushed deeper into poverty when recoveries focus on rebuilding property, not people. This report shows what true resilience can look like, and offers a playbook for building just recoveries after climate disasters.”
The overarching policy recommendations in A People’s Framework for Disaster Response include creating support for the scale support the scale of resilience work required and ensuring a just and equitable resilience economy, as well as ensuring an effective, responsive and adequate disaster safety net. Specific actions for the recommendations include:
- At the federal level, create a national public jobs program (“Resilience Corps”)
- At the federal level, remove barriers to work and employment for immigrants and individuals with criminal records
- At the federal level, update disaster unemployment assistance for the modern era
- At the state level, ensure functional, universally guaranteed D-SNAP and disaster-related employment protection as part of an effective disaster safety net
These are just a few examples of the report’s recommendations; a full framework is laid out within the report’s 60 pages, which can be viewed online at resilienceforce.org/report.
Resilience Force and New Florida Majority are uniquely positioned to deliver this report as both organizations have been on the front lines of efforts to craft innovative and inclusive solutions in the face of climate disasters.
“Hurricane after hurricane, we have learned that our family, friends and neighbors are our first responders. After the hurricane leaves, many of us are left without power, water or food, even if the hurricane didn’t directly hit our home,” says Andrea Mercado, Executive Director of the New Florida Majority. “Since Hurricane Irma, we join other community organizations to open Community Emergency Operation Centers in vulnerable communities in South and North Florida in response to major hurricane alerts, to organize hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donations to protect our communities.”
To read the report in full and explore its policy recommendations, please visit resilienceforce.org.