• Adaptation: making adjustments in ecological, social, economic, and other systems in response to current and future impacts of climate change. 


  • Budget advocacy: empowers individuals, communities, and grassroots organizations to bring their voices to the state and local budgeting process. These groups analyze, monitor, and comment on public budgets so that they better reflect their priorities. 
  • Business Continuity Plan: how the business or organizations will deal with difficult situations, such as a disaster, to continue operating with as little disruption as possible. 


  • Charity: typically short-term giving that responds to an immediate need, such as providing your neighbor food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals and households typically give charity. 
  • Climate justice: a vision and a movement that recognizes and fights the disproportionate impacts of climate change on frontline communities. 
  • Climate gentrification: a growing concept in which some properties become more valuable than others due to their ability to accommodate better settlement and infrastructure in the face of climate change. 
  • Community assets: people, structures, facilities, and systems that have value to the community. 
  • Community Development Block Grants – Disaster Recovery: flexible grant dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that State and local governments rely on to rebuild housing, infrastructure, and the economic base after major disasters. CDBG-DR comes in addition to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, insurance, disaster loans, and emergency assistance, and is particularly important in the most catastrophic disasters when prior sources leave other needs unmet. 
  • Community Development Block Grants – Mitigation: funding created to support long-term mitigation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CDBG-MIT program is a unique and significant opportunity for eligible grantees to use assistance in areas impacted by recent disasters to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future losses. 
  • Community land trusts: non-profit organizations that acquire housing and land to ensure they remain permanently affordable. Community members and other public representatives govern land trusts. 
  • Community Preference Policy: allows housing developments to prioritize certain applicants when leasing or selling units in communities at high risk of displacement. 
  • Community Risk Assessment: A Community Risk Assessment identifies and prioritizes local risks, followed by the strategic investment of resources to reduce their occurrence and impact. Its primary purpose is to provide data to better inform local decisions on the planning and implementing risk reduction measures.   
  • Community visioning: community visioning is an opportunity to expose and inspire people with new ideas that may have once seemed impossible. Planning allows us to develop a vision for what a future community could look like, as well as the path we can take to get there. It allows us to think through how future needs will be met. Visioning is the process of coming together to ideate, debate, and dream, allowing communities to designate their “North Star,” a goal that can then guide planning, advocacy, and organizing.   
  • Council of Governments: a type of regional planning and or governing body common throughout the United States  
  • Cultural competency: the ability to understand, value, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures to address all community members' needs.  
  • Cultural humility: acknowledging that your knowledge of another's person's cultural identity will always be partial, incomplete, and biased. It also means approaching each situation with curiosity and a desire to learn. 


  • Disaster: natural hazards become disasters when they interact with the way society has developed (physically, economically, socially, etc.) and cause great harm to people, the environment, and or infrastructure.  
  • Disaster collectivism: the way communities come together, forming new and building on existing networks of mutual aid, to take care of each other in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. 
  • Disaster life cycle: because disasters can overlap, last a few seconds, or a few years, it’s often called a “continuum” or “cycle” without a clear beginning or end. “The Disaster Continuum” is often broken into four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. 
  • Displacement: the process by which a household is forced to move from its residence - or is prevented from moving into a neighborhood that was previously accessible to them because of conditions beyond their control. 


  • Emergency Operations Plan: establish how the State, Tribal, or local jurisdiction manages their emergency response, including methods for conducting operations during an emergency, the process to seek help from other jurisdictions, how the public will be informed, and the use of resources. 
  • Environmental justice: protecting the environment and the health of frontline communities most impacted by environmental hazards.
  • Environmental racism: the disproportional impact of environmental hazards, such as pollution, on people of color.  
  • Equity: everyone is provided with what they need to succeed. 


  • Frontline communities: communities that have disproportionately carried the burden of harm from exploiting natural resources, economic disinvestment and under-investment, and social and political disenfranchisement.  


  • General Plan: a comprehensive long-term plan for development is required for each county and city in California.  
  • Gentrification: a process of neighborhood change that includes an economic change in a historically disinvested neighborhood —using real estate investment and new higher-income residents moving in - as well as demographic change - not only in terms of income level but also in terms of changes in the education level or racial make-up of residents. 


  • Hazard mitigation: a sustained action to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to people and property from hazards and their effects and provide protection at the time of disaster impact. Examples of mitigation include: strengthening structures, making land-use decisions that minimize damage, reducing vegetation in high-fire areas, and strapping down water heaters. 
  • Hazard Mitigation Plan: a document created every five years by State, Tribal, and local governments to identify the hazards a community or region faces, profile levels of exposure to those hazards, access local vulnerabilities, and identify actions to reduce risk. An up-to-date plan guarantees eligibility for certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance from the Federal government.  
  • Housing Element: A required piece in a city or county’s General Plan, which describes how they plan to meet projected housing needs. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) must approve the Housing Element to ensure that it complies with State law before the locality can adopt it as part of the General Plan. 


  • Immediate Needs Assessment: an Immediate Needs Assessment should be one of the first steps in the recovery process. Immediate Needs Assessments are used to evaluate a group or community’s recovery needs after a disaster. The purpose of the assessment is to identify what actions need to be taken immediately following a disaster event to keep people safe. 
  • Individual Assistance: financial and other support to individuals and households after a Presidential Declared Emergency or Disaster.


  • Just Cause Eviction: prohibits a property owner from terminating a tenancy without good or just cause, such as if the tenant doesn't pay rent.  
  • Just recovery: climate-vulnerable communities rebuild around the dreams, visions, and needs of the most severely impacted while increasing their power, agency, and self-determination so that they are better off than before the disaster.  




  • Metropolitan Planning Organizations: agencies designated by federal law to manage Federally funded transportation projects.
  • Mitigation: acting before a disaster to reduce consequences later. Mitigation involves analyzing risk, reducing risk, and insuring against risk. One example of a mitigation activity is upgrading a building to not fall during an earthquake. 
  • Mutual aid: collective action to support community wellbeing and reaffirm that all lives have inherent value recognizing that we all have needs and can help each other fulfill some of these needs, thus the slogan “solidarity not charity.” This approach is distinctively egalitarian and rooted in reciprocity and agency. 


  • Natural hazard: a naturally occurring physical phenomenon. They can be geophysical (earthquakes), hydrological (floods), meteorological (cyclones), and biological (epidemics).  



  • Philanthropy: charitable giving on the part of an institution or large donor.  It tends to take a longer-term approach to address the root causes for why giving is necessary in the first place. 
  • Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan: outlines how the community will recover after a disaster, including what goals they have for recovery, what decision-making will happen, what policies will be used, and how they will meet community needs. 
  • Presidential Emergency Declaration: when the President determines federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts in providing emergency services. The total amount of assistance provided for a single emergency may not exceed $5 million. 
  • Presidential Major Disaster Declaration: when the President determines an event has caused such severe damage that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond. This declaration provides a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure.  
  • Price gouging: when a seller of goods and services increases the prices higher than what’s considered reasonable or fair. This often happens after a shock, such as a disaster, when the prices of necessities go up, or vendors or contractors charge more for services and supplies. 
  • Public Assistance: assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and repairing or replacing disaster-damaged facilities after a Presidential Emergency or Disaster Declaration.  



  • Recovery: actions to rebuild to achieve the vision of frontline communities after a disaster. 
  • Regional Housing Needs Allocation: the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is related to the Housing Element. HCD assigns regional planning agencies (Metropolitan Planning Organizations or Councils of Government) a housing allocation every eight years, and the MPO/COG apportions that allocation to its member jurisdictions. The RHNA process is an eight-year cycle with a new housing allocation for the next one towards the current one. The process is also a political one in which more affluent jurisdictions have effectively been able to lobby to keep their allocation numbers low. Additionally, it drives new development to lower-cost places, thus reinforcing patterns of sprawl and segregation. 
  • Resilience: the capacity of individuals, institutions, communities, and systems to withstand or recover quickly and completely from shocks and stresses -- whether they be social, economic, environmental, or otherwise. 
  • Risk: potential for damage, loss, or other impacts created by the interaction of hazards with community assets. 
  • Response: immediate actions to saves lives and reduce damage to infrastructure and the environment after a disaster.  


  • Safety Element: part of the General Plan outlines all the potential and existing hazards that a community faces and how the jurisdiction will reduce short- and long-term impacts. 
  • Stafford Act: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) from 1988 is a U.S. federal law designed to guide how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages disaster assistance for state and local governments protecting their communities. The Stafford Act is intended to encourage states and localities to develop comprehensive disaster preparedness plans, prepare for better intergovernmental coordination in the face of a disaster, encourage the use of insurance coverage, and provide federal assistance programs for losses due to a disaster. Today the Stafford Act is the primary guidance that helps establish the objectives of FEMA concerning preparedness and disaster recovery, sets the bounds and guardrails of its programs, and establishes the legal authority and process for the Federal government to aid States and Tribes during major disasters and emergencies.   


  • Trauma: Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Collective trauma can happen when such events happen to a large group of people at the same time. 
  • Trauma-informed: A program, organization, or system [or person] that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization. 


  • Urban heat island effect: urban area or metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities, such as covering the city with dense concentrations of pavement. 


  • Vulnerability: understanding characteristics of community assets that make them susceptible to damage from a given hazard event. 


  • Wildland-urban interface fire: occur where the natural landscape and urban or built environment meet or intermix. 




  • Zoning: local government, usually Planning Offices, divide the land into areas, or zones, that have specific regulations for new development.