November 30th 2020-Meeting with Denise Morgan Gilliam, Federal Disaster Recovery Officer

ZOOM Meeting
Monday November 30th, 2020

Monday’s Rebuilding & Philanthropy Learning Session with FEMA
representative Denise Morgan Gilliam had 52 participants in attendance. Thank you to our funding, FEMA and community recovery & rebuilding colleagues.

Highlights/ Comments Captured:

  • St Croix example of how FEMA works in long term capacity building and disaster mitigation by improving local structures– a downtown Theater renovation was able to be realized using FEMA and philanthropic resources that created a location to house up to 300 people in the future in case of a disaster. 
  • USDA funding for rebuilding is an important federal program to tap into. Some communities may fit a  rural designation after a devastating fire, reducing population and infrastructure to qualify. 
  • Bank of America donated a building in Paradise to act at the Resilience Center for the community. 
  • Fire resistant materials easily adds on 20% more to construction costs. Do your local codes require use of fire resistant materials in reconstruction and what is the community’s interest in rebuilding this way.
  • Important to look at ways to help people return and be able to become home owners after a disaster. Investigate using tax credit for developers to construct affordable housing. 
  • Accessory Dwellings or Tiny Houses: One County purchased a Mobile Home Park and build up a Tiny House Community for workforce housing as an intermediate option, but then converted it into affordable  housing ownership option later. 
  • Check fire insurance impact on rebuilding and new construction, which may make the ownership difficult.
  • Involve Insurance people on committees so they can help shed light on implications from their industry and help build back better and with resiliency for their own interests.  
  • Local Recovery Manager position(s) are a huge leverage opportunity to ensure that communities are built back better and more inclusively. 
  • Before starting new organizations, research what is already working? Who is a champion of long term rebuilding? Build their capacity to serve.
  • Philanthropy can help existing collaboratives or non-profits with extra support to move them forward. 
  • An infrastructure for writing community rebuilding grants is critical to maximizing the opportunity to leverage federal funds and large private national philanthropic support. 
  • Providing Grant Writing assistance can go a long way in assisting organizations to strengthen their roles in the recovery and rebuilding process. 
  • Home sharing for elderly is a strategy developed by a college student in response to the Paradise Fires. 
  • Urban Design Associates in Chicago was hired by a foundation in California to create an inclusive community visioning process for Paradise.
  • The Posse Foundation supports students to work on various projects and receive a stipend for their time and work. Many have been the “staff” for the voluntary Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRG) that are in charge of Case Management of FEMA eligible individuals/families. Local Innovation Works/(SOU Student Interns) & UO Sustainable City Year program may be excellent resources to fire impacted communities around Oregon & N. CA.
  • Economic Recovery Support -Check the EDA funds available to local jurisdiction. (SOREDI in Jackson County will be applying to this funding source and will need a 20% match. It will take time to hear back so in some case philanthropy supports these roles before governmental funding can be found or in place.
  • Funders are very helpful to have as part of the hiring process for Local Recovery Manager staff. 
  • HUD disaster funds should be tapped for housing; needs lots of advocacy to get that funding. 

Comments from the participants:

  • It would be helpful to rebuilding to have a shared network of who is doing what or interested doing something and would like to be involved in rebuilding. We are missing this type of infrastructure or “connective tissue” for such a massive rebuilding project. Examples types of website that could be helpful to mitigating this, but would need resourcing and ability to manage:

Thank you again to Denise Gilliam for her time and wisdom and to all of you for your participation so we can together rebuild our communities.