BUILDING RESILIENT HOMES FOR RESILIENT PEOPLE: HOW SBP AND CORPORATE SPONSORS CAN SERVE DISASTER-IMPACTED COMMUNITIES

Building resilient homes is an essential upstream solution to disaster recovery because it significantly decreases the impact of future disasters, allowing homeowners to preserve home equity and rebound more efficiently. These benefits help address some of the core equity issues for under-resourced communities within America’s disaster recovery framework. With the support of Farmers Insurance, one of our long-standing corporate partners, SBP promotes financial stability for vulnerable disaster survivors by returning them to safer, more resilient homes.

Barbara Hartman is a lifelong Louisiana resident who inherited her home from her parents when they passed. Her daughter, Debra, is her primary caretaker because Barbara lives with Alzheimer’s disease and is oxygen-dependent. When Hurricane Ida hit in the summer of 2021, their roof collapsed, allowing rain to saturate the inside of their home. Drywall fell, mold flourished, and most of Barbara’s belongings were damaged or destroyed. Lacking insurance, they realized firsthand what it meant to fall through the cracks of the system.

For many families, home and property insurance may be considered a luxury when weighed against other needs like food, medications, transportation, and shelter. So, when natural disasters strike communities where residents may not have insurance, they are often less equipped to recover in the short term. Emergency funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can take years to reach homeowners, meaning they are left to live in severely damaged homes, which increases their risk of developing long-term adverse health effects or worse. Debra reached out to several organizations for help rebuilding, but she never heard back. After her neighbor told her about SBP, she reached out for assistance and was quickly approved. SBP sent a team of volunteers to remove debris from her yard and gut the home. We then provided her with a new resilient roof, installed new drywall, and performed plumbing and electrical work.

Today, Ms. Debra is relieved to have put the hardship of Hurricane Ida behind her. “We’re finally back home because of your kind donations,” she said, sharing a message of gratitude for friends, volunteers, and donors. “We are someplace that some people will never be able to go back to. Thank you! There really is no place like home,” she said like Dorothy waking up from a bad dream.

According to ​​estimates produced by Verisk Extreme Event Solutions, only about 50% of economic losses caused by natural disasters in North America are insured, representing a protection gap that leaves families and businesses without funds to rebuild (AIR 2019). The problem is further exacerbated when damages are assessed inaccurately, which results in states receiving less access to federal recovery funds.

Through generous funding and skill-based support from Farmers Insurance, SBP accelerates recovery in low and moderate-income disaster-impacted communities across the United States. Farmers helped SBP expand services beyond Louisiana by supporting our work after the 2011 Joplin tornadoes, and since that time, we’ve expanded to more than 20 disaster-impacted communities. Additionally, Farmers helped SBP to create a robust disaster preparedness education program and their team has served thousands of volunteer hours to help families rebuild their homes and lives. We are incredibly grateful for their service and look forward to our continued partnership in driving meaningful, lasting impact for disaster-impacted communities.

References

AIR (2021). Global Modeled Catastrophe Losses. Boston, Massachusetts: AIR Worldwide Corporation.

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SBP: Shrinking time between disaster & recovery

Bringing discipline & innovation to create social impact. Shrinking the time between disaster & recovery for at-risk communities. sbpusa.org