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Rebuild Florida CDBG – Mitigation General Planning Support Program Application: Countywide Resilient Hub Network Strategy

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Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center
Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center
on
July 15, 2020

The Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center is excited to propose the Countywide Resilient Hub Network Strategy for funding from the Rebuild Florida General Planning Support Program’s Community Development Block Grant - Mitigation (CDBG-MIT). Designed in partnership with Miami-Dade County and Resilient305, the Community Resilience Pod is a prototype and represents the potential for critical risk and resilience actionable information for communities across the county facing local threats like extreme heat, flooding, sea-level rise, food security, and pandemics. Transformed from a 40-foot shipping container, this initial Community Resilience Pod will build awareness of individual and community risks and emergency and disaster preparedness acumen for neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County.

1. Project Description:

The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (the Center) offers to combine its expertise, world-wide experience and targeted resources in partnership with Miami-Dade County and local municipalities to develop a strategy for a countywide disaster mitigation resilience hub network. A resilience hub is a community-serving facility reinforced to support neighborhood residents, educate the public, distribute resources, coordinate communications, stage government services capabilities, and enhance general quality of life. The strategy will provide an actionable plan that offers the county and its municipalities a framework and menu of options for high-impact mitigation solutions.

Threat: Miami-Dade County has been designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a Most Impacted and Distressed community. The county faces a substantial risk of being struck by various disasters including floods, hurricanes, severe storms and coastal erosion. According to the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, these four hazards themselves account for 96% of the monetary loss and 45% of the deaths and injuries in the State of Florida. When disaster strikes, it can wreak havoc on a community – destroying homes and businesses, damaging infrastructure and utilities, and leaving people injured, homeless and out of work. In Miami-Dade County, damages from these types of disasters have been increasing steadily, in part because of larger disaster events, but also because more people are living in hazard-prone areas. Adding to the complexity is that the people living in these areas are significantly socially and economically vulnerable to these events. Miami-Dade County is listed in the top 20% of most vulnerable counties in the nation and the state. With a lowmedium income (LMI) population of 54.73%, the state’s highest percentage and greatest number (approximately 1.5 million), Miami-Dade has a large population that lacks the ability to effectively prepare for, plan for and rebound from disasters.

1) Project Purpose and Area of Benefit: This grant and the Center’s matching investment provides a timely and essential opportunity for Miami-Dade County to address its areas most affected by the region’s recent and likely disasters. It also provides the occasion to extrapolate from the past, analyze present conditions and apply accepted projections to grasp a full understanding of the risks and vulnerability facing Miami-Dade’s communities. This strategic, high-impact regional mitigation plan is intended to empower local government officials, their partners and most important, the public. We will develop a strategy to define a Miami-Dade County prototypical resilience hub and to create a network system that scales the concept, establishes community hubs across the county, and interconnect them to better position the county as a whole to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural, social, physical and economic shocks and stressors. By creating an interconnected system with sites in the heart of neighborhoods, we expand the reach and presence of virtually all county disaster management services. This strategy will set the conditions to strengthen communities’ resilience to hazards and help deliver programs to mitigate the negative effects of future events.

Description of the Proposed Activity: The planning effort will be performed in six steps, with each subsequent step building on the analysis, findings and recommendations from the previous steps. This data and threat driven approach is most powerful by combining the progressive accumulation of knowledge and understanding of the county’s conditions. The first step is to perform a community vulnerability assessment. We will then define a prototypical county resilience hub that incorporates site facilities, infrastructure/utilities, programming and operations required to meet the needs of the county’s many communities. Next, combining the vulnerability assessment and the resilience hub prototype, we will outline and describe how to most effectively interconnect the sites to maximize the value of a networked system. Once the network strategy has been diagrammed, we will select three strategically located sites across the county where we would create a conceptual plan for pilot resilience hubs, tailored to each neighborhood and site’s specific needs. For each pilot hub site, and by association other hubs across the county, we will discuss how to integrate the Center’s flexible and mobile community Resilience Pod into the concept plan and programming. Finally, through this deliberate method, not only will we provide an effective approach for Miami-Dade County, but also offer a scalable and transferable strategy to other counties across Florida.

2) Mitigating Vulnerabilities and Risks: By implementing the components of this strategy, local officials and community leaders will reduce and eliminate a significant number of vulnerabilities and risks at the neighborhood and individual level. This strategy will help build community capability and elicit focused action from the communities:

  • Improved knowledge of local threats by location allows municipalities to better target services and response efforts
  • Known safe locations allows governments and community organizations to concentrate support services and reduce duplication of services
  • Addressing vulnerabilities at the neighborhood level reduces stress on regional public safety, hospitals and transportation
  • Increases public safety by offering staging areas and distribution facilities for government officials in the heart of the community
  • An interconnected network enhances communications between sites and enables officials and community support agencies to flex services as needed
  • Community education and awareness creates a better prepared and resilient citizenry
  • Enables an increase in the number of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trained citizens to better support disaster preparedness and recovery throughout local neighborhoods
  • Provides year-round improved community cohesion and cooperation that enables neighborhoods to work together and communicate about neighborhood resilience and disaster preparation, response and recovery
  • Enables the creation of a registry and response plan to help protect neighborhood at-risk citizens
  • Provides a known and nearby location where information, food, water, ice, supplies and materials can be stored and distributed in advance of an event to protect property and lives
  • Provides a location during the response phase that offers public safety, emergency management and healthcare services to stage and operate. Reduces response time and increases public access to critical life, health and safety services
  • Provides access to a known, safe and nearby location that expedites recovery by offering critical information, food, water, ice, supplies and materials, healthcare and support services, power and communications to protect property and lives as recovery operations progress
  • Provides a location for post recovery economic support, jobs training, and other relief services

3) How the Work Will Be Done and the Team to Do It:

Step 1: To develop an effective resilience hub network strategy and its supporting components it is necessary to start with a thorough community vulnerability assessment. We must identify, compile and map county-wide disaster hazards and vulnerabilities to better understand how to guide subsequent project steps and the final presentation of the strategy. This deliberate analysis will be performed by a team consisting of the Center’s expert staff and its consultants, county officials from multiple departments, city partners and community stakeholders from the private-sector, civic groups, nonprofits, homeowners’ associations and academia. The key tasks involved in performing the vulnerability assessment are: (1) Assemble a vulnerability assessment team that is representative of the county’s population; (2) identify, catalogue and map county-wide likely disaster threats; (3) Identify, catalogue and map physically vulnerable populations and facilities; (4) Identify, catalogue and map socially and economically vulnerable populations; (5) Manage a robust community engagement and input process; and (6) Create a comprehensive, easily understandable vulnerability assessment report that includes an analysis of the countywide threats and the community’s vulnerability to disasters.

Step 2: After analyzing the vulnerabilities and mapped this across the county, we will narrow our focus to the most likely, costly and dangerous threats confronting Miami-Dade. Our next step will be to develop a Miami-Dade County prototypical resilience hub, one that offers the ability to address the most crucial vulnerabilities. A resilience hub is a community-serving facility reinforced to support neighborhood residents, educate the public, distribute resources, coordinate communications, stage government services capabilities, and enhance general quality of life. They are located at known and accessible places, such as recreations centers, parks, community centers or schools and are intended to serve in four operating conditions in the disaster management cycle: Early phases of preparation (most of the time), late phases of preparation as the community gets ready for a defined and impending event, response in the immediate aftermath of a disaster when government emergency operations pivot to restoration and continuity of services, and then recovery from the incident. In this step, we will define a prototypical resilience hub by outlining its purpose; recommending criteria for siting (e.g., access to transportation networks and higher evaluation); suggesting required facilities, utilities and infrastructure; identifying potential services and programming; recommending potential government services and public safety uses; and providing a framework for staffing and operating a resilience hub. A multi-disciplinary, intergovernmental and community team will define and develop the prototypical resilience hub concept. The team will consist of the Center’s expert staff and its consultants, county officials from several departments, city partners and community stakeholders from the private-sector, civic groups, non-profits, homeowners’ associations, and academia. We will also seek guidance from the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network for their expertise and experience in implementing successful resilience hubs.

Step 3: The next step is presenting the rationale and implementation strategy for an interconnected, accessible countywide network that will exponentially enhance disaster management operations. We will diagram a framework for operating resilience hubs in an interconnected network that improves communications, properly positions emergency management capacity, increases public safety, enables flexible operations, and provides direct support to communities for disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Our team for this step will include the Center’s expert staff and consultants, as well as county emergency management, police, fire & rescue and communications officials, and select academic experts.

Step 4: With the county’s vulnerabilities clearly identified and mapped, a prototypical resilience hub conceived, and a network framework diagrammed, we will then select three sites to serve as pilot resilience hubs. We will first outline guidance to assist government officials and community leaders in site selection and the identification of required infrastructure and programming needs to best support the surrounding neighborhood. We will select three locations that meet two primary criteria: (1) sites serving communities that face a high degree of vulnerability, and (2) locations that benefit from existing supporting infrastructure and community involvement. We will then develop concept plans for the three pilot sites by tailoring placement, facilities, utilities, services and programming to a neighborhood’s specific needs. We will include organizational, resourcing and staffing requirements and develop a framework to activate and operate each site. The team performing this work will consist of the Center’s expert staff and its consultants, county officials from multiple departments, city partners and community stakeholders from the private-sector, civic groups, non-profits, homeowners’ associations and academia. This step requires close partnership with a community programming specialist and community engagement coordinator.

Step 5: We will then integrate the Center’s recently introduced Resilience Pod concept into the overall strategic plan. The Resilience Pod is an innovative, mobile, scalable, and rapidly deployable engagement tool, constructed out of a 40-foot shipping container, that leverages the arts and culture of Miami-Dade to build awareness and resilience at the scale of the individual. The Pod, which can be mobile or statically placed, is currently being deployed across the county and serving as a creative engagement tool around individual resilience. In future, the Pod will be able to support existing long-term objectives of resilience in any locality and/or be a catalyst to building awareness of the risks of climate change and enhancing individual and community preparedness. The Pod is designed to be a safe place to go for information and resources in a time of crisis. It can be quickly deployed to educate the public on the vulnerabilities their communities face, provide a facility that offers critical community support services including food, aid, water, financial literacy and mental health support before and after extreme weather events and public health emergencies. We view the Pod as a platform through which we can offer power, supplies, storage and emerging requirements for the public. The Center’s expert staff and its consultants will lead this effort with support from county officials, city partners and community stakeholders from the private-sector, civic groups, non-profits, homeowners’ associations and academia.

Step 6: In the final step, we will develop a process through which resilience hub network strategy can be scaled and transferrable across the State of Florida. We will publish a guidebook that will help other communities adopt this strategy and learn from best practices to address their own threats to adapt the strategy to their own geographic and demographics context. With well documented research and an intentional and clear step by step process, this strategy will be easily replicable by counties across Florida. This effort with be performed by the Center’s expert staff and its consultants.

4) Determining Project Funding Requirements: The project is divided into six logically progressive steps. Although some of the work can be performed simultaneously, the nature of applying the learning experience throughout the project, leads to a more sequential approach. For each step, we will identify the expertise required (type, amount and time) and calculate the corresponding salary cost at market rate. Some staff will come from within the Center while other skills will be contracted from expert consultant firms. We will identify any information access, equipment, and technology required to perform the work. This will be phased out over the six steps to limit costs to only when these items are needed. We will then estimate the supplies and materials to perform the work and forecast the travel costs during the project. This will add up to the total project funding.

5) Key Outcomes: As this work is primarily a strategy and action plan for Miami-Dade County, the ultimate direct community benefits come from municipalities putting the proposed recommendations in place. However, as knowledge is power, the strategy itself offers local officials, community organization and the citizenry information, understanding, frameworks and options that if implemented will make the community safer and more resilient:

  • Provides local officials, community groups and the citizenry an updated and more comprehensive awareness and understanding about the risks and vulnerabilities facing the county
  • Catalogues and maps the vulnerabilities alongside critical and supporting infrastructure, vital services and key demographics to provide better insight into the county’s most vulnerable areas
  • Assists local officials in defining mitigation requirements and prioritizing where and how to invest resources that will lead to saving more lives and better protecting public health
  • Provides options to improve disaster management capabilities and capacity across the county as well as prepares the public in the heart of their communities
  • Offers options and an interconnected network framework that enables government officials to make strategic decisions, prioritize efforts, reduce redundancies and optimize disaster-related resources
  • Enables the implementation of integrated, well-positioned, and consolidated disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems by creating a place to stage and operate during response and a site to activate during recovery
  • Provides a resilience hub prototype to help select locations and the composition of resilience hubs
  • Offers three resilience hub concept plans to be used as pilots for other network sites to best enhance neighborhood disaster preparedness, response and recovery to ultimately minimize social dislocation and stress
  • Integrates and refines the Resilience Pods to fulfill both network and individual hub requirements. Assists in determining the best use and location (static or flex) of the Resilience Pod during every-day operations and in emergency operations
  • Through a summary guidebook, provides other counties and municipalities in Florida the same outcomes as listed above for Miami-Dade

6) Integrating with the County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP): Working closely with the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management, we will ensure that our strategy integrates and supplements the current CEMP. By the strategy’s definition, it will provide options to create and benefit from a better prepared and engaged citizenry and to extend capability into the heart of the most vulnerable neighborhoods.

The Atlantic Council – Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilient Center plans to apply for Rebuild Florida General Planning Support Program funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support long-term mitigation efforts by assisting the State of Florida and its local governments in minimizing or eliminating the risks and reducing losses from future disasters. This program is being administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) through the Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program. A total of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000.00) in funding has been allocated by DEO for the Rebuild Florida General Planning Support Program.

The Atlantic Council – Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilient Center anticipates applying for a total of $918,000 in funding through the General Support Program in order to work in partnership with Miami-Dade County and local municipalities to develop a countywide resilience hub network strategy. The Atlantic Council is pledging to match the funding with $285,000 for a total project budget of $1,203,000. The strategy enables governments and community organizations to concentrate disaster support services, improves the ability of local municipalities to better target services and response efforts, addressing vulnerabilities at the neighborhood level to reduce stress on regional public safety, hospitals and transportation systems, and increases public safety by offering staging areas and distribution facilities for government officials in the heart of the community.

Application Details: Miami-Dade County-wide Resilient Hub Network Strategy, estimated cost of $1,203,000

The project scope includes a community disaster risk and vulnerability assessment, the definition and planning of a prototype and three pilot resilience hubs to provide disaster support services in local neighborhoods, the framework for an interconnected disaster management hub network to manage incident preparation, response and recovery, and the creation of guidebook to replicate the network for other disaster-prone counties in the State of Florida.

Any resident wishing to know more about the proposed project should contact Steve Williamson, Grant Writer and future Project Manager at SWilliamson@bestsolutionscg.com. Comments from the public must be received no later than 5:00 PM on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.  All comments will be considered, and proposed changes will be submitted to DEO.

Any non-English speaking person wishing to provide a response to this public notice should contact Steve Williamson at 254-289-5878 at least five calendar days prior to July 28, 2020 and the Atlantic Council will assist as best as possible.

Full public notice, Rebuild Florida General Planning Support Program Guidelines (PDF):

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