Disaster Recovery Centers For Resilient Communities

August 8, 2022

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FUSE Corps

The City of Austin, TX is building a Resilience Hub Network of physical facilities, community networks, and empowerment tools that provide hyper-localized, contextually, and culturally relevant solutions to address ongoing stressors in communities and bolster distributed disaster response and recovery efforts. The FUSE Executive Fellow will work with city, community, and private stakeholders to research, plan, and implement a strategy to activate community-owned, community-operated sites for Austin’s Resilience Hub Network.

Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Across the world, changing climate is expected to generate more extreme weather that is increasing the frequency, intensity, and unpredictability of disaster events. In the past decade, the City of Austin, TX has experienced climate change in the form of record-breaking heat, droughts, historic floods, severe winter storms, and devastating wildfires that have taken lives, displaced community members, and stressed infrastructure. In 2021, Austin’s City Council passed a Resolution to begin building a Resilience Hub Network of physical facilities, community networks, and empowerment tools that provide hyper-localized, contextually, and culturally relevant solutions to address ongoing stressors in communities and bolster distributed disaster response and recovery efforts.

Resilience Hubs also increase accessibility by bringing City services and support into communities and empowering residents in the selection and distribution of services. Further, the Resilience Hubs implementation plan prioritizes communities where these services will be most impactful, such as those most impacted by historical disparities and inequities and those most vulnerable to climate-related shocks and stressors. This is vital in Austin, since low-income communities and communities of color are bearing the brunt of climate change impacts, often being hit first and worst and lacking the investment and resources needed to recover. The Resilience Office is currently working to help Austin prepare, respond, adapt, and thrive from disruptions, whether they are climate-related or man-made, acute or chronic in nature.

Austin will partner with FUSE Corps to help establish and implement a strategic plan for expanding the Resilience Hub Network to develop a robust and comprehensive network of community-owned, community-operated Community Resilience Hub locations such as churches, business, and nonprofits. The FUSE Executive Fellow will: engage with community members to gain an understanding of both historic and current stressors; act as a liaison between the city departments and community stakeholders; develop strategies to stabilize neighborhoods and enhance residents’ ability to prepare for and thrive after a major event; and implement the program strategy. This work will help support the city’s goal of improving community climate resilience while addressing disparities and promoting environmental justice for historically disinvested communities.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Beginning in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work with city, community, and private stakeholders to research, plan, and implement a strategy to activate community-owned, community-operated sites for Austin’s Resilience Hub Network. Ultimately, this will help build a robust collaborative among key Central Texas agencies, community organizations, and community members in order to yield a strong, long-term program aimed at better preparing the community to respond to and bounce back from extreme climate related events.

The Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a listening tour with relevant stakeholders including the Sustainability and Resilience Offices, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, community-based organizations, and community members to understand the current landscape regarding climate resilience planning as well as the type of activities, resources, services, and functionality that high-risk, historically disinvested communities are interested in having at a resilience hub. Beyond trust and relationship building, they will also engage with potential community hub partner organizations such as churches, nonprofits, and local businesses to determine interest for potential host sites. The Executive Fellow will research similar successful programs from across the nation to model a successful implementation framework.

The Executive Fellow will then develop a framework to build out community-managed facilities in the areas most affected by extreme weather and climate change impacts. This will include plans to identify, assess, select, review, approve, and operationalize new sites. Importantly, the Executive Fellow will assess, with the support of City Law Department, the legal and contractual needs and potential ramifications for managing collaborations with community-owned sites. The Executive Fellow will also develop clear guides, that tie into City plans, for activating the hubs in the event of a disruption, and for ongoing operation of the hubs in all modes (normal, disruption, recovery) to ensure that community-based staff and supplies are available at these facilities when needed. Lastly, the Executive Fellow will work to identify long term funding opportunities to ensure program sustainability.

The Executive Fellow will then begin implementing the plan by assessing, equipping, and assisting with the operationalization of potential partner facilities as Information Hubs, Warming/Cooling Centers, Food/water distribution sites and Emergency Shelters. After operationalizing several pilot sites, the Executive Fellow will work to assess efficacy, efficiency, and community opinions on the new hubs in order to refine the systematization model for long term success.

By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the current landscape- Become familiar with the Resilience Hub Network plan; review national models to identify successful strategies for community-operated hubs; participate in meetings with all relevant stakeholders, including city departments, staff members, and community members to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns with regard to community-run resilience hubs
  • Form a comprehensive strategy and implementation framework – Build on existing Resilience programmatic recommendations for identifying, assessing, equipping, and operationalizing community-owned, community operated hub sites; determine mechanisms for goal setting, evaluating, reporting, and initiating site implementation; establish a timeline for new hub implementation aligned with the city priorities; identify funding opportunities for long-term program operation and expansion; tie in community hub model to ongoing pilot program and agency-owned hub models
  • Support program implementation – Begin program implementation ensuring community needs and equity for historically disinvested priority neighborhoods is centered in all strategies; coordinate and leverage program resources for maximum impact; work with leadership across agencies and departments to effectively advance a long-term program plan

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Jason Alexander, Assistant to the City Manager, City Manager’s Office, Austin, TX
  • Supervisor – Laura Patiño, Chief Resilience Officer, City Manager’s Office, Austin, TX

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in strategic planning, authentic community engagement, and project management is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.