Just Recovery from Natural Disasters: Climate Change, Best Practices and Innovative Financing for Rural Recovery

Just Economy Conference – May 7, 2021


COVID-19 has underscored the lessons learned by many affected by natural disasters: communities and organizations remain unprepared and their response and recovery systems are in need of reform. As climate change continues to create more frequent and more devastating disasters, rural communities face unique challenges that require innovative solutions. Most often communities of color are hit the hardest and are taking the longest to rebuild. Federal disaster funding, which has traditionally been the main source of financial support following a disaster, is slow to obtain and insufficient. This session will cover effective disaster responses and best practices for community development organizations. Attendees will walk away with concrete examples of climate change and learn how best to plan a response to natural disasters in low-income and communities of color, learn how to access financing in a timely and comprehensive way, and receive resources for planning and responding to disasters.


  • Bob Zdenek, Moderator, Senior Advisor, CCRH, Sacramento, CA
  • Veronica Beaty, CCRH Research Manager, Sacramento, CA
  • Leo Barrera, Community Development Corporation of Brownsville, TX


NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.

Zdenek, 01:47 

Welcome, my name is Bob Zdenek, I’m the moderator for the Just Recovery from Natural Disasters, Climate Change, Best Practices, and Innovative Financing, and delighted to be joined by a panel of people do some really creative work responding to natural disasters and ensuring that the community recovers in this process. And so I’m going to introduce our panel. And then I’m going to provide some overview remarks. And I just first started I’m the moderator, I’m a senior advisor to the California Coalition for Rural Housing, working with them on rural disaster and several other initiatives and helping them involved in the community for over four decades, and for six years was the director of special initiatives at NCC. So it’s good to be back with the NCRC family and doing this workshop. I can introduce in terms of the order, Veronica Beatty, who is the CCRH research manager from Sacramento. And she works on a wide variety of issues for their members and staff support and for manufactured housing, modular design. And she’s my colleague with the world disaster research and technical assistance practice that we’re going to be launching shortly that we’re delighted because we didn’t want this just to focus on California. I know we’ve had some dramatic fire, you know, challenges. We’re also delighted to have Leo Barrera who’s with the CDC of Brownsville, Texas, and they’ve done some great work over the past. But again, Texas represents sort of clearly hurricanes, flooding sets, another type of natural disaster, we want to look at several of them. They’ve done some great work around the developing the rapida, which he will talk about, and they’re doing it some national work around mi casita, which is helping communities around the country that have experienced disasters, helping the residents, low-income residents, rebuild, and that’s really critical issue. So we’re delighted to have Leo, join us. And so we’re excited that you’re joining us. And we’re going to start with the presentation. So and also want to acknowledge Andrea solace from CRH, who has been really helpful, and we’re having to put together this session, so we’re grateful for her support. So the next slide. So why don’t you provide an overview as I can just really quick, why this is so important now is this is not optional. In many places. This is sort of, I hate to say it, it’s the new normal in so many communities around the country in low-income communities of color around the country, because often located in areas that are more prone to disaster. So this is really becoming a core element. It’s not just something that Oh, it happened and then we’ve got to respond to it. It really needs to be integrated into the planning preparedness, operational side. So disaster preparedness, planning and response need to be core skills for community-based development organizations moving forward. So got to be baked in and use that analogy baked into the work, the strategy, the planning, and also community-based development has a critical role to play in disaster rebuilding, both in addressing issues of social and economic equity, where these disasters tend to happen when people attend Mostly, mostly impacted in housing and rebuilding is just such a core element. And what we see time and time again, is, without the resources in this capacity, people are scattered. People who live in rural communities who experience a disaster, find out the nearest place that they can live as 100 miles away, that creates enormous havoc. So how does communities the government play its critical role in terms of housing, rebuilding, and advocacy. And the goal of this workshop is to inform and position community-based development organizations to be a catalyst. But it’s not just to be one of many. But to be a catalyst in responding, engaging other partners, we have great examples, and we’re going to be issuing a guidebook very shortly, we will have the link available by May 7, showing you about some of the really other creative partners that have partnerships that have emerged, whether it’s fire, drought, hurricane, or other types of flooding. So it’s really the this is really important. And there’s really some good practice and really to thank our panelists, because they’ve really been doing some of the creative thinking here. next chart. So I just wanted to really quickly give you some of the impact the context of this and how it’s growing. What we’ve seen is the fire season in the West in California, Oregon, Washington State and actually up into Canada has gone from 73 days to 35 days in five years. And we’re really scared because we think that fire season in 2021 is going to be more than 105 days, based on a lack of rain. 4% of California was on fire that is bigger, that’s bigger than the state of New Jersey 4% was on fire in 2020. The first gig of though we have a new term Giga fire of over a million square feet. That was seven counties. I mean, we’re facing in that we have to respond we personally unprecedent challenge, water supply and drought conditions. dams and lakes are, you know, way below capacity. We’re also seen with climate change, heat, increased heat morbidity. And again, this also tends to impact people of color and communities, African Americans have 5.3% greater likelihood of heat morbidity. In the Central Valley in California, 71% of agricultural workers who died from heat, morbidity or excessive heat are Latino. So again, the impact on people of color, sea levels rising dramatically longer-lasting storms. I lived in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy and I saw what happened with the was ceasars in the hurricane. Hurricane Harvey a couple of years ago dumped 38% more water than normal. Two days after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in late October, it snowed. This is all unprecedented. It’s new, it’s sad, Southern, we have to face it, you know, in the present and in the future. So climate change has been a huge impact in terms of accelerating the damage of natural disasters. next chart. So critical element is my last chart preparation, planning and resiliency. Really quick again, it’s not just recut, you have to be prepared. You have to plan and you have to use resilient strategies. We see sort of three key elements in the housing development process. The really critical nature of location efficiencies, this is worth CCI rates and their longtime director Rob Weir had been working on for many years. How do we have evacuation routes? What type of geological soil? What do we need to buttress that with engineering units per building? There are a lot of key issues here. I just there’s a lot more I’m just giving a quick overview, construction efficiency, so not just location, but construction. Safety features, obviously, are part of the country earthquake fortification. And this is this point applies everywhere durable and nondegradable building materials on-site granite and you’ll learn from the CDC of Brownsville presentation, their great work in that area, Operation efficiencies, how do we use technology to help residents who may not make sure that everybody has access to it so that when something happens, you can get people out? We lost him He lives in paradise fire in Butte County, California. In 2018, escape routes, training, staff, residents, partners are trained, in our case communication in English and Spanish really critical since nearly 40% of our population are our Spanish speakers. So in California, that’s true significant numbers in Texas and obviously Puerto Rico. So again, these are some of the operational efficiencies. The next slide. Okay, so I’m gonna turn it over to Veronica. 

Beaty, 10:02 

Hi, I’m Veronica Beatty and the research manager for California Coalition for Rural Housing. The California Coalition for Rural Housing is a statewide member-based organization that advocates for policy, does research and provides technical assistance to rural communities and a wide array of housing issues the goal of promoting and preserving affordable housing and sustainable healthy communities throughout California, CCR, he has been working on disaster planning and preparedness in recent years, because our members want to better respond to that heightened frequency and intensity of natural disasters, particularly fire in the communities they serve. Next slide.  Rural California has always been disproportionately subject to natural disasters due to a lack of physical infrastructure historic under-resourcing, lower levels of staffing and capacity within government and community organizations, geographic isolation, incredible spans of defensible space and other considerations. Because the growing impact of climate change has exacerbated natural disasters across California, rural communities have been hit the hardest, the fires and subsequent flooding for the past few years have led to a significant loss of rural lights and devastation of communities. In the state experiencing the nation’s greatest housing crisis, the loss of affordable housing in disaster-affected communities has been debilitating. Next slide. disasters have a multiplier effect on the affordable housing crisis. They create direct displacement due to reduced housing supply and housing costs driven by new demand, making it harder for low-income residents to find adequate and safe housing that goes into the surrounding communities. And we know that fires are likely to continue destroying affordable homes. across California there are 140,000 units of affordable housing in the wildland-urban interface vulnerable to fire may be a little difficult to see. But the counties shown in purple on the map here have nearly 100% of their affordable housing units in that wildland-urban interface area. So we know the communities we work in are having some of the greatest affordable housing needs in the state and are relying on housing stock that’s under threat of destruction. And despite being the most impacted by natural disasters are often the least prepared to prevent respond to recover. Next slide. So our response here at CCR h has been to provide technical assistance to those communities, so that they can better address disaster recovery and minimize damage from future potential disasters. We also advocate for policies that will provide flexible funding and resources for both temporary and permanent housing support in the wake of disaster, and the research and dissemination of better practices. As Bob mentioned, we’re developing a rural disaster planning guidebook targeted to rural affordable housing providers who are serving these low-income families and communities of color across the state. And they talk a lot in the last slide about the deficits in rural communities. But it’s important to mention we’ve also seen these communities be incredibly resourceful and creative. Our members have been responding to the need for better disaster preparedness with the same passion that brings providing homes. And that looks like creating new staff positions that are disaster-focused, building out pre-emptive partnerships with organizations they may not have worked with before like United Way and the Red Cross social service providers. They’re modifying their building designs. One of my favorite examples is on the slide here. That’s Burbank housing spike Creek community in guerneville, where the whole buildings are actually up on these podiums to mitigate flood risk does have a boat launch built into the community. And it looks like building on the preparedness conversation to gain support for a variety of housing options. So I’m going to tell you quickly about two of our members responses that are featured in case studies in our guidebook. Next one. The first is Community Housing improvement program or chip. chip has built more than 3000 housing units in their seven county service area in Northern California, and is acknowledged as an innovator and leader in rural housing issues. When Northern California was hit by the campfire, most of the town of Paradise and several surrounding towns were destroyed, including 95% of the housing stock in Paradise, and including chips 36 unit paradise, the village that we’re looking at here on this slide. We paradise in the surrounding communities make to rebuild chips. Now lunch was key. They were one of the only affordable housing providers operating in the area. And they have knowledge about state funding programs and the housing development process that proved invaluable as the community went to rebuild. Particularly because they were able to clarify the disaster tax credit process since they were the only recipient in the region familiar with their us. Chips are ramping up its housing development capacity and is bringing online five new rental projects in the near future and also looking at single-family rental programs. It’s particularly Because that type of housing is really not going to come back unless we plan for it. Chip also helped to lead the campfire collaborative that began as a long-term recovery team meeting emergency needs. And it’s turned into this really fascinating ongoing space for community collaborations of a housing committee that incubates those collaborations connects member organization and provides information to partners who are looking at the housing challenge in a variety of ways. One of the outcomes of those new collaborations has been between the rebuild paradise Foundation, local Habitat for Humanity and chip, who are working to inform the use of donated land within the campfire, burn scar for affordable housing and other community like parks and road continuations. I think what we can also see from the chips example is that rebuilding can change the conversation, the town of Paradise use their long-term recovery process to do really deep community engagement. And think about how to rebuild with more housing options, including affordable housing, and really create a more equitable and greener community because they took the time to really engage the community members, and do that visioning. Next slide. The other example I wanted to highlight is self-help enterprises. Self Help enterprises works across the eight counties Central Valley region, and is one of the nation’s leading producers of self-help housing. As drought conditions became more common in the valley, many of their homeowners began contacting self-help housing in crisis, because they were having difficulties with the wells that provided water to their homes. And at the time, USDA could only provide $11,000 for New Mexico, which is a pretty limited amount of funding. And self-help enterprises responded to that by developing a prototype for a temporary tank system and starting to build private philanthropy relationships that could assist dozens of families in bringing their water wells back online. It took that private philanthropy and pilot project and went on to work with the California Office of Emergency Services at the state and county level. And they were able to get 1600 water tanks installed in homes just in 2014. To provide immediate access to water. They built on that advocacy and started working with the State Water Resources Control Board to drill new wells for households as well as ran dry and expanding access to wealth assistance programs to rental properties. What’s fascinating about this, I think is you really see self-help enterprises they’re responding to community need. I think, from my perspective, I might not expect a developer to be engaged in making sure whatever access is available for families right there. That’s kind of part of the housing but it’s a well isn’t a house. But they saw that that’s what their service community needed. And they built capacity around how to address these well issues, took on these advocacy fights to make sure that their families and families and the communities surrounding them had access to water. They did problem-solving, they were able to focus on these homeowners provide tanks, and wells, in part because it helps preserve the value of the home that these families have spent their time building and investing in. And then finally, there’s this combination of technical assistance and advocacy. So by both working within existing programs, and fighting to expand access to those programs, self-help enterprises really has been able to go all the way across the board to ensure what works. Excellent. So our guidebook dives into these two stories as well as other examples for our members work to showcase and improve the affordable housing sectors response to disasters. It includes practical advice around those efficiency Bob mentioned around location design, construction and operation, as well as recommendations for government at all levels. Here’s just kind of my top picks for each of those levels. But we’ve got plenty more where that came from. And that looks like for local governments, Central and community engagement in recovery and remembering that affordable housing developers and providers are key players in that process. At the state level CCR H is advocating for the creation of a statewide emergency bridge loan fund for housing recovery, and at the federal level to public getting to knowledge this new normal and to permanently authorize the CDBG Dr. funding that our members have relied upon as part of the yearly appropriations process. Excellent. And finally, just in general, I want to emphasize to this audience that meeting existing affordable housing need as a disaster preparedness strategy. If we are already operating in a housing deficit, it makes communities more vulnerable when I re-emphasize that affordable housing Developers are valuable partners in all stages of the disaster process because they’re accustomed to navigating complex funding programs, layering public money to make projects work, used to thinking about and adapting to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. And that’s what we need to do in our disaster planning and recovery, right is prioritizing, meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. And we also in the long term need to coordinate the way we think about affordable housing planning, fair housing planning, and our disaster preparedness, because if we aren’t intentional about how we plan to the events and disasters and rebuilding their week, we’ll continue to create inequitable communities where housing opportunity is limited. And communities of color and low-income communities continue to be disadvantaged. So I’ll close by saying please subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date on all of our disaster-related research and advocacy. And I’ll turn it back over to Bob. 

Zdenek, 20:53 

Thank you for that was terrific. And then the examples are really compelling. I still I love the one with the boat, the pontoon the boat launch. I mean, you don’t think of California theme, we talked about fire and droughts, but there’s also flooding. And so it gives us the creative response. And really making the understanding this is just so core, you know, to the work that we do in supporting low-income communities. And also hopefully with question and answer session in a couple weeks, we can talk about some of the advocacy and policy initiatives that are really important and also at the National and we’re trying to get disaster CDBG disaster Dr. Which is disaster recovery funds annually and also more quickly, sometimes it takes two years for the funds to really hit arrived bashes arrive at the community that really needs them and how do you in that two year period you’re trying to rebuild? Wait, you have to get other types of sources. So do I thank you for it. That was a great overview. And we’re gonna move from California to our friends in South Texas to Leo they’ve done some remarkable work for many years around disaster response and housing and share their strategy. So Leo, who’s the Director of housing for real estate and development for community Corporation of Brownsville, welcome. 

Barrera, 22:08 

Thank you very much, Bob. I appreciate the invitation to present here. Like Bob said, my name is Leo I am with cccb comm Dream Come build formerly known as Community Development Corporation of Brownsville was a mouthful, so we had to kind of rebrand a little bit since we do so much work outside of the city of Brownsville now, we you know, we had to rethink our name. So we’ll be talking about dropping though. A few of the partners involved with this program was bc workshop. They are a nonprofit architecture firm based out of Dallas with offices in Brownsville and in Houston. Some local organizers in the Rio Grande Valley are Lubin arise. And they were our community support and outreach arm and Texas housers and Texas a&m hazard reduction and Recovery Center where our kind of research and policy and academic piece of of the program. Next slide, please. So hurricane Dolly hit the South Texas coast in 2008. And it wasn’t until 2014 did our CDBG Dr. Funds really make an impact. We did do some housing in 2011 with the county but we did maybe 30 houses, right and the few other organizations doing how’s it sitting there, but it was it was a drop in the bucket compared to the real meat that was in it. And then in 2014, that program was run through our local cog. And the funds came from the General Land Office, which is weird for us because our housing agency in Texas is the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, they run all the home and CDBG and NSP and you know 9% 4% tax credit deals, they are our housing agency. So you know, it was a bit weird that the General Land Office you know, was you know, in charge of running this dr money. Next slide please. So Robbie, though ropey though is a temporary to permanent model. And so basically you know, what that means is that we will use standard building components. You know, this is a normal stick build project, but that will expand down the road and become your permanent home. Next. So with wrap up the program, we did 20 houses in the Rio Grande Valley. So that is if you can see on the map there. It’s the southern most three counties of Texas. So those are some renderings of the houses. We did 20 families Are all quite a bit different in design, as you can see through those renderings, next slide, please. So here is a rendering of prototype zero. So in red is what we call the core. And that is the temporary component of the project. And the core is made up of a small Living room Kitchen, a full size bathroom, and a bedroom. And the range and square footage anywhere from 400 up to 600 square feet, that will depend on the nada restroom are not meant to the right is the rendering of the full build out. So the addition and the entire component. Next slide, please. So I know it’s really hard to see some of these diagrams on my slides. But this is basically a cross cuts of of the core. And then I’m sure at some point you guys will have access to the slides on so you can kind of dive in and you know, see these a little bit further. But to emphasize on what you can see the right in the middle of those, those renderings in green are our panels. And that’s what makes this program a bit unique. Obviously, Grow Home isn’t new, right? Katrina cottages and all types of examples of building something small and adding to it later. But we tried to focus on a panelized system here. Next slide, please. So here we have some of our employees building these panelized systems that I’m talking about. So what you can see here are some floor panels. And some wall panels. The big stack in the back are the wall panels that we you know, used to deploy the site. Next slide. These are panels being delivered to site. So you can see the floor panels being and, you know, sit on top of the are piers precast, piers. And, you know, again, the forklift delivering more floor and more panels to the site. Next slide. So this is the core that we set up. And again, this is prototype zero, we built this. This is the first one we did on our own bot that we still own today. So we use a zip wall system here. But like in all the slides you saw before it is a Wall panelized section. So with a temporary roof. Next slide, please. So really hard to read this one, sorry about that. But just to kind of talk about the workflow of, of the process. So obviously, after disaster, with this model, you’d have some off site construction taking place. And that would be in terms of putting together all of these panelized systems. And then obviously, the on site construction would be you know, after a fire or a flood or hurricane, you know, there’s obviously debris on families lots that need to be addressed. So, so the on-site, you know, on-site component is clean up these neighborhoods, creating spaces where we can drop, you know, this temporary two per model. And then and then obviously, there’s kind of the outreach and eligibility piece of this program. Right. So our outreach workers we, you know, we gave them title as navigators, right. So, navigators would lead families through the entire process, becoming eligible, working with designers knowing what their home is going to look like. And you know, having them be involved in the addition and build on process. Next. So, what you can see in green is the core and now we are in the audition phase of it contributing to you know, the permanent home that we, you know, want to build. Next slide please. And here’s the hunk complete. On the right, what’s in green, that was the core that you saw on the previous slide. So the porch, the porch that was on the core that became a bedroom. The living room and kitchen became another bedroom. That wet wall stayed the same and because the core had the full-size bathroom that’s stayed the same and then the original bedroom that was in the core, the addition the left side of the home that you can see was a new a brand new big beautiful porch, a new living and dining room. And a full-size kitchen with a back porch sign on the front of that with a back porch that has kind of a closet for Washington dry run. Next slide please. So just a diagram of the program again. So we were the developer on the project, VC workshop or you know, the designers and planners, Lubin arizer organizers were our navigators, our outreach arm, and Texas housers and a&m, or our policy research and advocates on this next slide, please. So here’s just us kind of going through the planning phases of how, how this program should work, and you know, the things that we needed to address. Obviously, reconstruction programs, and affordable housing after disaster is, you know, very cumbersome, you know, tasks to take on. And so, you know, there’s many sessions of us just kind of walking through different scenarios of how best to run this program. Next slide, please. Um, we had an open house, when we built the court, this is a local state senator Lucio that you know, able to tour around and, you know, have them visit the site, he was a big champion for this model. Next slide, please. I’m here is a community meeting being held by Luba, um, it was very important to engage in the communities that we serve, so that they could have a  seat at the table, when we discuss what a housing project that would affect their lives, you know, be a part of so it’s really important to get community feedback on, on the way we’re designing the program, and how home should look like and the process that they may one day go through, or a family member or a friend. Next slide, please. So another difficult slide to read. Well, basically, this just talks about some of the deliverables for the program. So obviously, we wanted to, you know, rethink construction a bit. And, you know, we did that through the panelized system that were created. Making sure that the the outreach and the design component of the program, you know, made some sense, and we put some thought behind it. And then obviously, partnering with local groups makes a whole lot of sense. And, you know, making sure that we’re bringing in local, other important organizations to table to help us plan some of this, and then obviously, you know, the pre disaster planning is, you know, we built some houses, that’s great, but the pre disaster planning, and all of the work that went into that is, is I think, where the real kind of magic lies within this program. Next slide, please. Um, so this without be though, it is not a response to disaster housing, if your community was hit by a flood, or hurricane or fire or tomato, you, you are too late to use that. This is a pre covery model. If you need to plan for these disasters, the planning step now and not and not wait for disaster to hit. So, so part of that is, you know, why we had community meetings to talk about a pre-design process, right? Obviously, if you’re working with communities, you know, what, you know, what your landscapes look like, you know, the vulnerable areas, you know, the people that are going to suffer the most when a disaster hits. So why not engage those families now? Right, you, you know, and ask, Hey, if we had to rebuild your house, what would it look like? Next slide, please. Excuse me, now, we’re talking about pre procurement. Um, you have local suppliers, or you’re working with now, local builders and other trades, why not engage them today, to let them know that in the event of a disaster, we want to use you, right, we want to use the materials you provide. We want to use your labor and the resources that you have. Next slide, please. And prepared preparedness and training. Um, it makes a lot of sense to us. You know, maybe there’s a local church group in your community that has, you know, a great relationship with, with families, you know, it would make sense to use them as an outreach arm right? Why, you know, reinvent the wheel here after disaster and, you know, bring an outside outreach company or marketing company to help figure out a housing process when locally There are people that you can use to help navigate these families through a reconstruction program after a disaster. Next slide, please. So another one to read, but just to re-emphasizing the importance of, of sticking to communities working in communities, and making sure that you’re able to bring back people to the neighborhoods that, that they’re from, that they’ve lived in for many years that they’ve chose, you know, to live in, even though they might have issues with drainage, or, you know, they’re close to the coast and, you know, when a hurricane comes, you know, they’re going to be a vulnerable home that needs, you know, that’s gonna need some attention. But, um, you know, bringing, bringing in the communities working with the families, making sure they have a choice, say, and, you know, seat at the table, and local, you know, working with, you know, the local trains, and building suppliers, just so, you know, full circle here on strengthening communities, right, because, because the people, the builders, the found means they work somewhere, right, and keeping families in their neighborhoods is the most important thing we can do here, right, the last thing we want to do is displaced families, have communities, you know, be lost, because of the natural disasters, you know, that, that they have to deal with that are, you know, no fault of their own. Next slide, please. Um, so here are a few shots of some of the houses that we built. Um, and, and providing choice, you know, has been just a big component in, in the everyday work that we do, whether it’s, it’s the house they want, it’s the loan product they want. It’s, you know, any type of services that we provide, you know, we do a lot of credit counseling and working with families to that, but, but the more choice that we can provide to our families is what we try to focus on. Next slide, please. And this was us giving Foreign Secretary Castro a tour of some of the projects that we’re working on, and this kind of ropey, the design and form of our response to reconstruction after a natural disaster. And something that, you know, we’ve, you know, we, you know, we did this many years ago, obviously, hurricanes come and go, changes come and go floods happen. Um, but we realized that we are dealing with a disaster, you know, now and every day and that’s, you know, within the populations, we serve it, substandard housing, not enough, you know, rentals out there for people. And so, you know, this ropey though kind of morphed into a, into, into a response to, to dealing with, you know, this the standards of living that our families are dealing with now, so probably those kind of morphed into a new program that we call mi casita. Same concept, except we’ve moved on from a wall panelized system to a full build out of, of a 12 by 24. Module home, regular stick-built construction that gets built in factory and shipped to site. And the unique thing about me casita is that now there’s a loan component, and the loan component can grow with the home. So let’s say you just get the core Now, a few years later, you can add on a bedroom or bathroom, make, you know, expand your home, and that loan will grow with home. And that’s about it for now. Thank you Bob. 

Zdenek, 39:03 

Thank you. Well, that was really terrific. And I really love the recovery. And you may stress several times that you can’t start when and after the disaster happens. And the pictures in the charts, really desperate work that can be adapted in other settings. So again, let’s have a think Thank you can have the next slide the summary slide up so Adriana is so key. So I want to conclude again, thank our panelists for providing some really good case examples of really understanding the importance and how this work really integrates into your core mission and work. The given the cch rule, disaster guide and recommendations will be really helpful even though when we wrote it, not just California, it was focused on California but some of the recommendations are broader. I also like to stress the importance of advocacy and resources. to this effort, as you know, as it grows over time with the disasters, I mentioned earlier, the CDBG disaster recovery plans are really important. And the National Income Housing Coalition is helping champion permanent funding of that as part of the CDBG. appropriation process is really critical because time matters. And it’s hard to bridge finance, you know, a lot of money when you have to be involved in a lot of substantial housing rebuilding plug into national networks, I think like the coalition and CRC is work because what we’re trying to do with is have disaster word seen as a core element of CRA, meaning the CRA tests, the various lending investment service tests really important for the Enterprise Community Partners and others who’ve done around design and replication actually, they’ve actually funded mega cities CB to expand that concept, the rapido concept through La Casita, so again, many others and get I guess my sort of final thought, before we get into the question and answers is don’t wait for Yeah, don’t wait for it to happen. be ahead of the curve overusing and one of my favorite analogies man up knee-deep with alligators are trying to outdistance a fire and fires are fast. So again, plan, think, engage and participate with others. Again, thank you for having an opportunity to score some can thank our panelists for their presentations. And we’ll go to questions and answers right now. 

Zdenek, 41:41 

I guess we’re live. We want to thank Leo and Veronica for the really terrific presentations and also mentioned that we’re going to put in the chat in the chat. The link for the CCR h roll disaster guidebook, and a B 880, which is the bridge financing legislation in California, that will really help get money quicker to house and recovery. So looking to see other obviously the comments as to that we’re live. We also want to draw from you from it for our attendees, your thoughts, your experience, because we’ve had a lot of experts who share what you’re learning, share some of your challenges, and comments, and then we can you know, feed it and then we can feed off on that. So actually, what I want to start what we’re waiting for, well, while we’re waiting for comments is, is have Leo, talk a little bit more about me casita  and sort of how you’re rolling it out in other in other communities around around the country. 

Barrera, 42:48 

Sure, and first, I think there’s a few questions from Mr. Ware that I think I can answer first. So he asked how much these houses were going for. The first, the ropey the houses, those were CDBG, Dr. funds, so those, you know, fortunately, we’re free to the family. But those ranged in a variety of pipe of prices, depending on the number of bedrooms, but a rough out finished for at the time, we were found they could live in costs us right under $40,000. And then obviously, demos vary, right, depending on how big and how much debris needs to be removed from a lot, you know, those always very, um, obviously now with prices, and I’m not too sure mister where Mrs. Where were you from? But, um, right now in South Texas, you know, lumber, and I know, it’s kind of nationwide with certain products, but you know, lumber is outrageous right now. Um, so, you know, suppliers wood are only holding prices for me for about two weeks right now. And that’s, you know, we we do over 100 houses a year and, you know, another 50 to 100 rental units a year and so we’re, you know, we’re big, we’re a big producer, and, you know, I can only have parcels, you know, being held for two weeks at a time. So, obviously, that’s, you know, tough for everyone to navigate. Um, another question here is, is financing available? Um, yes and no, so I like Bob said, I’ll talk a little bit more about mi casita. Um, so, like I said, it is a an evolution of the ropey the program, um, right now we’re in our r&d stage of mi casita. So we are building prototypes in a factory yard and You know, completing them out as best we can and deploying them out to site. And yes, there is financing available. And like I did say during the presentation that families can build what they can afford today and down the road of the need to add some bedrooms or a bathroom or, you know, some office space because they’re working from home now, and, you know, don’t aren’t renting office space out in the community, we can, you know, add that to, and the loan product actually will grow with them, right. So as you add on to the house, we would refinance the loan and you know, they have the view payment. Mika, Sita is on the verge of being created to be franchised. So we have a few partners that we’re working with in Mississippi, and in Colorado, and Arkansas, and Tennessee. Law, we’re starting to have conversations about the adoption of the program. So you know, building, you know, one way in South Texas is probably done a different way in, you know, another part of the country. And so right now, we’re trying to figure out the best way to kind of franchise the program. And that involves a few things. It’s a design component. It’s the loan component is all of the kind of design work that goes into creating a program like this. is a question for Veronica. 

Zdenek, 46:38 

Yeah, from Renee about CCRH, she’s working and we care she does work in native real companies you want to add you want to respond to that brought me out a woman? 

Beaty, 46:49 

Well, we say your CCRH works closely with native communities across California. And in fact, one of the other case studies in the guidebook focuses in on northern circle and kind of saw their COVID response work in particular. And what’s interesting, I think about their case study there, and I’ll let Bob elaborates into this his interview. But it’s a lot more focused on relationship building, and there’s a lot more flexibility available in some cases. So native communities are often historically and currently super under-resourced, right. But what was great with the northern circle tribes, is that they were able to quickly respond to COVID saw that their residents were gonna be unable to pay rents, and were able to implement a rent forgiveness program, kind of a rent pause. Within weeks, well, I think statewide, we were still thinking about, like, oh, how could we find the funding, maybe this is the right move, maybe it’s not, they were able to be much more responsive to their community’s needs. And because they were willing to put their residents first and say, we can figure out how to make this happen. On the back end later, what we need to do is keep people house. Bob, if there’s anything you want to add, feel free. 

Zdenek, 48:12 

Which is also a paradises. And in humble County, for the first there were several fires in 2018, and 2019. And several of the tribes had houses burned down. So northern circles has been working on the renovation, accessing financing, because it’s very isolated. And so they’ve really developed capacity to raise dollars and to respond quickly to sort of to the outcomes and impact of the fires. And so it’s got a capacity that they’re building and hopefully don’t have to use this year, but sort of special in the last four to five years, the northern part of the state’s been on fire. And so it’s really critical, and it’s hard to keep catch up with it. But they’ve actually started responding a couple years ago with financing trying to also keep members in their community. That’s one of the issues we talked about is that when rural communities or houses are lost, there’s a lot of geography that they may not be able to move to their neighbor or their relative in the next city, they have to go further. So I came as close as possible to where they live for a lot of reasons. Other questions or comments? So again, please also share your experience that you’ve had around disaster plan in response and get encourage you to look at the guidebook is as we posted as rough as posted here, please don’t share it more broadly, because we’re actually finalizing it and we’ll have a next couple weeks, you know, we’ll have the final version out and then we’ll share it with ncrc and others and it’s California focus, but the lessons are much broader in the resource section to can be really helpful in the case examples and then give you a lot of interesting partners. That’s one of the things and doing the interviews when I got to interview six sites you Is that one in a to a to an organization, they said, What COVID and what response to roses fires has led to new partnerships. And we’ve mentioned Red Cross and United Way which are fairly traditional. But we didn’t talk about Pepsi Cola, we didn’t talk about a river Conservatory. There’s some really interesting and eclectic partnerships and, and rural, affordable housing developers and CDCs are really steeped in the culture of partnerships. Because when you’re doing housing, you’re have multiple partners and funders. So it’s part of your DNA. So you have a really unnatural role to play. I also see is construction built for, for any climate, they don’t want you to get shot at that in terms of South Texas, and then we can talk a little about California. 

Barrera, 50:48 

Sure, so our program, it’s obviously down here, we know what it takes to build houses in our environment on part of part of the reasons of partnering with people, you know, out of state and across the country is to adapt the program to meet, you know, the building standards of your own community. Right. So if you’re in the Midwest, and you know, the cold is a problem, your own needs more insulation, then obviously, we would, you know, adapt the construction to meet your specific standards if the, of the communities you serve. And there’s another question here about the factory. And if we own it through a partnership, on the factory here that we were working in, we own it, um, we’re lucky enough to have, you know, quite a bit of land at our disposal that we own. So you know, we just took some acreage that we had available and put our factory on it. 

Zdenek, 51:43 

It’s nice to have here, but there’s a lot of, you know, wasted, acquire land or leased land to develop like that rock if you want to talk about the climate unit buildings in California. And I can add to that question about climate and how you don’t have. 

Beaty, 52:02 

Sure, I mean, you know, California has historically been home to earthquake. So California admins are used to designing some designing their housing around that kind of natural disaster, we’re seeing emerging practices around integrating wildland-urban interface codes into building codes. Thinking about property management from a disaster mitigation perspective. So that looks like clearing your defensible space, maintaining your gutters, working with residents to do emergency planning, so making sure you have a plan for the building, in the case of evacuation. And that’s particularly crucial as we move in California also towards more dense housing. So there’s a little bit of attention around creating denser and denser housing, because that can become more difficult to evacuate, as you put more people trying to get through the same number of exits, right. So trying to make those balance those priorities of denser housing and housing you can get out of in a timely fashion in an emergency. Similarly, with transit-oriented development, you may be building assuming that your residents don’t have cars, which is great love having active transportation friendly communities. But again, if you’re looking to outrun a fire, and you have a set of residents who are less likely to own cars, that requires more of those creative partnerships Bob was talking about so is that working with your transit agency is that working with other emergency services providers, to make sure that you know when a disaster hits, how your residents are going to be able to actually.  

Zdenek, 53:36 

Yeah you know, whatever climate is that California is a big state, but I would say the vast majority of low-income rental houses in rural housing rental, and homeownership and self-help are in warm climates. In the Central Valley, which gets very hot, they’re probably in the high heat season right now. Or they’ll have three to four months of over 100 degrees. And Southern California, we’re especially in the desert, there’s a very successful, affordable housing developer, this has been the hottest hot spots in United States, the Coachella Valley. So in terms of the design is really critical in terms of making walls thick, using really core principles to try to keep the heat outside in the summer, and then keep it as close as possible and then ventilated and open up at night when it cools down about 30 degrees. So yeah, climate and location citing great materials, durable was really important in terms of climate thinking through the climate implications and the fact that it’s getting warmer when you’re building affordable housing or replacing affordable housing as a result of a natural disaster. 

Beaty, 54:40 

And yeah, Renee, I love your comment about the overlap with the work that public health departments are doing around disaster preparedness. We work pretty closely with a coalition of public health officials and advocates around Housing Preservation and housing, housing retrofits can make the housing more Healthy, but also preserve it as affordable housing. And our focus has been mostly around air quality in that arena. But it’s completely true with disaster planning as well. And to that point about hotter and hotter climates, looking at green energy solutions, right? And how do we keep residents utility bills low even as they might be cranking their AC to offset these hotter and hotter days? 

Zdenek, 55:21 

Yeah, no, it’s a really good comment. I would just add that disaster mitigation planning preparedness is just really another competency or skill set for addressing social determinants of health. And yeah, sadly, again, we talked about heat map, I should put a plugin for Bruce Mitchell, who’s the research team at NCRC. He’s wonderful. He actually did his dissertation on hotspots. So he helped give myself some really good resources. So in addition to knowing CRA, and food deserts and other things, he’s a really good resource around this whole connectivity. Then we have a question from Keith, which I’m going to I’m going to ask Leo to answer since these are really only direct practitioner in amongst the three of us, is the one about certified contingency planners, such helping laypersons in community, and I think it’s a lot that’s you’ve heard a lot of that working with your residents, getting them aware, your recovery, that’s really sort of at the core of recovery. 

Barrera, 56:20 

For sure, um, I not sure I understand the full length of the question. Um, but I would, I would seek out the nonprofits in your community that are working with vulnerable populations. Now. I’m not 100% sure what a certified contingency planner does. So, but I assure you, any nonprofit in your community is always looking for some type of help. Um, and so, you know, it’s, it’s seeing what you know, their mission is seeing if it aligns with something you are comfortable working on, and, you know, helping them connect to other resources, the best way you could hope that someone answers your question, Keith. A question here about lobby, though, and how quickly the based on can be placed on a site. Um, that varies a bit, it just depends how much demo needs to be done on the lot. But when a lot was fully cleared, and we placed the core on an empty lot, it only took us four days to put up foam. And remember, this is only 400 square feet. So it’s, you know, it’s not a lot of space, especially when you’re building the panelized wall systems, you know, and you know, somewhere else and waiting to be deployed. So, for days. 

Zdenek, 57:50 

We also thank you, let’s have a couple questions from Ella about, are you using solar and wind power to help residents save energy? Particularly not alone? And I’ll add to it? 

Barrera, 58:04 

Sure, unfortunately, we are not, you know, not really, um, it’s available in our communities. But it’s still very pricey. And so, you know, we’re still a nonprofit developers. So, you know, these kind of increases to a construction budget are pretty difficult for us right now. But I’m really excited to for that first time. So looking forward to 

Zdenek, 58:29 

Yeah, California, we’re seeing a little bit of, you know, because there’s a real need to move into multifamily to have rooftop solar go to multifamily. But the financing is tricky. And so we do have the affordable housing sustainable development, stable Communities Program, just captained, which is one of the programs that came up with a cap and trade resources that we have. And so there are nonprofits, community, affordable housing developers that are using it. It’s not common yet, but we’re looking at some innovative financing tools or some of the solar companies in the tax credit. That’s what people really need. It’s almost like a refundable credit. It’s almost like they think of it as an earned income tax credit where you get money. You don’t throw it to the back end, but you need the money early. And so if you can make it refundable, then you can then have some capital to then finance the finance the solar panels, you know, the rooftop solar panels, but it’s pretty complicated. You want to add anything to that, Veronica? 

Beaty, 59:30 

I do. Yeah, a lot of developers work with solar particularly I’ve seen a little bit less wind, but I want to shout out mutual housing in Woodland California created a farmworker affordable housing community, that is entirely net zero. And it’s actually been touted as a global model. And when generally speaking, we see our our developers using a lot of renewable energy and doing a lot of work around energy efficiency and LEED certification and part of that’s because affordable housing shippers are mandated to exceed title 24 standards in California, especially if they want to be competitive in these funding programs. So I’ll leave it at that for now. 

Zdenek, 1:00:11 

Yeah, not so much on wind power. I mean, there is wind power in California, but I don’t think it’s been really connected to affordable housing or housing, construction in general and others talking about offshore wind. So it’s a little bit of a solar Yeah. Because that you may be aware that all new construction for solar after buildings after 2020, must you so it’s 100%. So that’s obviously provided an incentive base to do it. And then of course, the challenge then is to do it with affordable housing unit multifamily units and trying to get the solar panels into those units to cut costs for the developer and then save the residents of money. Any other questions, or I think we’re right at five o’clock eastern, three, four o’clock in Texas and 2pm in California. So again, this was thank you for the questions and can thank NCRC for having us talk about just recovery and a special thanks to Katie Roundtree, the conference planner for supporting this workshop and please check the publication’s and look forward to staying in touch with you and being a resource. Have a good weekend and Happy Friday. Thanks for any follow up. 

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