On July 25, 2013, Architecture for Humanity was awarded a $140,000 grant by the Community Safety Foundation, a foundation funded by CSAA Insurance Group, an AAA insurer. The grant will fund implementation of a regional disaster resiliency plan for vulnerable communities across Oklahoma. This work will build on efforts already under way in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, including Moore, following the suite of destructive May and June tornadoes this year.
“After a disaster, immediate focus is on emergency response, families affected and then the rebuilding process. This program allows us to additionally focus on improving disaster preparedness programming and education throughout the Tornado Alley communities in need, which is essential.” - Audrey Galo, Program Coordinator
In the weeks after the spring storms, Oklahomans in tornado-prone towns are re-examining their own preparedness and resiliency. Architecture for Humanity, along with other non-profit groups working in the region, have uncovered “preparedness gaps” in many communities due to the lack of affordable expertise and education around disaster preparedness and resiliency. Many residents forgo implementing resiliency methods due to the high cost of professional architecture and construction services, confusion on best practices, or inability due to age or disability.
Through the Resilient Oklahoma program, a small team of licensed architects will help vulnerable communities adopt best practices in resiliency and disaster preparedness. These trained professionals will lead public workshops to identify preparedness needs, available resources, and tailor community-specific solutions.
The one-year program will include three phases of implementation: community identification through outreach and assessments; technical services and training; and evaluation to measure and document impact and scalability. This program will be made available free of charge to all local communities.
Some areas where we may focus our efforts include: mobile home communities, where residents have a ten times greater risk of death in a tornado; families with income limitations prohibiting installation of or proximity to storm shelters; those with mobility constraints, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.
The Resilient Oklahoma program is anticipated to reach over 6,000 Oklahoma residents through direct contact or media outreach beginning in August 2013. Many beneficiaries will implement home resiliency measures during the course of the program, and establish precedents to scale these methods beyond the duration of the program, making a lasting impact in the region.
If you are an architect interested in being part of the Resilient Oklahoma program, please visit here.