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Enterprise Community Partners Inc. and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have released a national emergency preparedness staffing toolkit for multifamily housing. Enterprise and HUD developed "Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit" to help affordable housing organizations build emergency plans that promote business continuity, resident engagement and building protection. The toolkit is the first of its kind dedicated to multifamily housing emergency planning and will be disseminated across the U.S.
“The simple truth is we can no longer afford to be unprepared for the growing threat that climate change poses to local communities,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “This toolkit offers multifamily property owners what they need to better protect their developments and their residents. What we do today will put us on a more resilient path to weather the next disaster that will most surely come our way.”
Terri Ludwig, president and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners, said, “Hurricane Sandy showed affordable housing organizations the importance of disaster preparedness and maintaining continuity. Their residents are the most vulnerable, the least able to adapt in a crisis and the least likely to recover quickly and fully without support. The Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit will help affordable housing organizations across the country better protect their residents, minimize the impact of emergencies and prepare and safeguard their buildings and staff.”
The Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit incorporates videos, guides, worksheets and checklists to help housing organizations assign staff to disaster response roles, engage in vital planning tasks, test the strength of their plan with a simulated disaster scenario and perform ongoing maintenance. Developed in partnership with 12 leading community development corporations (CDCs) from around New York and New Jersey as part of the Enterprise Recovery and Rebuilding program, the toolkit is based on the Incident Command System (ICS), a planning framework used by federal, state and local first responder agencies to help structure command, control and coordination of emergency responses. The use of ICS will allow multifamily housing organizations and CDCs to communicate clearly with first responder agencies.
“Having experienced the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, JCHA understands the critical role that tools like Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkitcan play in minimizing damage to important sources of affordable housing and communities,” said Marvin Walton, executive director, Jersey City Housing Authority. “Since the storm, JCHA has remained committed to ensuring that our buildings are prepared to manage future disasters by developing a comprehensive emergency plan, staff training programs and retrofitting our most flood-vulnerable buildings. We are proud to have provided useful insight for the creation of this toolkit and help other organizations be better prepared for disasters.”
The toolkit is part of a larger package called Ready to Respond: Tools for Resilience that Enterprise created to help affordable housing organizations of all sizes manage shocks from major disasters and develop the resilience needed to adapt to future emergencies. In addition to the staffing toolkit, Enterprise developed Are You Ready to Respond?, an organizational self-assessment for emergency readiness, and Ready to Respond: Strategies for Multifamily Building Resilience, a set of 20 retrofit strategies that building owners can implement to make their properties more resilient against climate hazards, which is set for release on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.