Community Powered Resilience and this website

California is a disaster-prone state, and it’s getting worse - from the ever-present risk of earthquakes to climate-change-driven crises like wildfires, extreme heat, and drought. 

Yet, these disasters do not treat all people equally. Frontline communities—Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, non-English speakers, lower-income families and individuals, people with disabilities, and seniors—all suffer disproportionate impacts of disasters due to systemic racism that has forced them to live in more vulnerable locations and conditions. For example, wealthier and often whiter communities live in the hills, while lower-income people are forced to live on flatlands near the water, often facing flooding and sea-level rise. Even affordable housing has a greater chance of flooding than regular homes

About Community Powered Resilience and this website

Community Powered Resilience is a different way of planning for and recovering from disasters. It’s about investing in frontline communities, following their lead, listening to their solutions, and redirecting resources to ensure the next wildfire, flood, or earthquake is not a disaster for them. Throughout this website, the core audiences of local government, philanthropy, and community organizations are offered actions to deliver equitable resilience throughout California. Tips and tools are also included for individuals on the frontline to help them prepare and recover from disasters. Ultimately, this website is for everyone because everyone plays a part in disaster planning and recovery.  

This website is one piece of the Community Powered Resilience initiative. Changing the way California responds to and recovers from disasters will take time and close collaboration.  This website seeks to offer opportunities for connection, information sharing, and learning together. Still, it is a tool that will be most valuable through active use and participation by the communities it seeks to serve. Please join the Community Powered Resilience initiative and be part of this important work! 

This website is a living document, and with your help, it can be a valuable resource as part of the Community Powered Resilience program.  

This website aims to:  

  • Educate on disasters and how to mitigate their impacts.

  • Center and focus on frontline communities. 

  • Speak to and be useful for three core audiences of local government, philanthropy, and community organizations.

  • Provide accessible information that is easy to read and understand. 

  • Empower readers to take action.  

To achieve this, the content is: 

  • Responsive: suggested and or ground-truthed by frontline communities 

  • Useful: the reader can immediately take action 

  • Respectful: written with respect for the deep knowledge and experience that the frontline audience brings to this work  

  • Accessible: Community Powered Resilience aims to have its site and materials translated into Spanish soon and secure funding for more languages. We have also used the Disability Justice Style Guide to make content accessible to everyone. 

What separates this website from others? 

  • It makes complicated processes and information easier to understand.  

  • Democratizes knowledge in co-production with frontline communities.  

  • Focuses on disasters as an organizing principle for taking action on various social, economic, environmental, and climate justice issues. 

  • Highlights the need for systemic change in partnership with frontline communities, public sector agencies, and philanthropic partners. 

About the process 

Community Powered Resilience started in 2017 with Enterprise Community Partners, a national non-profit with affordable housing policy and funding expertise, including disaster preparedness and recovery.  Initially called the Democratizing Resilience and Disaster Recovery initiative, it grew out of work done by Enterprise to support the recovery of the affordable housing sector in Sonoma County after the Tubbs Fire.  During this time, Enterprise learned about the barriers frontline communities in California face in disasters, including:  

  • complicated programs, 

  • tricky funding mechanisms, 

  • inaccessible or unavailable information, 

  • lack of capacity, and

  • limited opportunities for community engagement. 

In short, disaster planning and recovery processes are complicated, siloed, inequitable, and exclusive. In 2019, Enterprise convened stakeholders from all over the state to discuss how to change this system. Read the report that summarizes the results of Enterprise’s convening and other conversations with stakeholders during that time. One of the resulting recommendations was to create a website to provide accessible, actionable information on disaster planning and recovery geared towards frontline communities.  

Since then, Enterprise has partnered with many contributors to create this website and build the Community Powered Resilience program. A special acknowledgment for this work goes to the North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP), a grassroots, multi-racial, and multi-issue organization comprised of over twenty-two faith, environmental, labor, student, and community-based organizations in Sonoma County focused on building power in working-class and people of color communities in the North Bay. NBOP continues to provide content, review materials, and guide this website and the greater Community Powered Resilience program.  

Community Powered Resilience also has an Advisory Board of many organizations listed on the Contributors page, including community-based organizations, philanthropy, and local government.