Building Resilience Through Local & Statewide Initiatives
As California’s climate change continues to produce extreme fires, devastating storms and flooding, earthquakes, and most recently Hurricane Hilary, there is attention focused on serving communities during emergencies. As residents of San Diego County, we know all too well the dangers that are present in the late summer and fall as Santa Ana’s bring the threat of extreme fire danger. The need for emergency shelters and evacuation sites that can support rural communities has never been more critical, yet infrastructure and rising construction costs restrict local community centers from being able to provide essential services during an extreme weather event.
Community Resilience Centers
Our team at CBSI has a heart for serving our community and providing support to help mitigate risk through our construction experience. We are currently working on two large projects to help renovate and construct Community Resilience Centers (CRC) in rural San Diego County as well as through a statewide grant initiative through the Strategic Growth Council. The CRC projects are focused on ensuring that residents in rural areas have access to a resilience center during short-term events like earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, mudslides, power outages, storms, and wildfires, in addition to longer-term events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities across California face unequal access to local resilience opportunities including clean energy and water infrastructure, emergency response services, and public health services.
CBSI has completed the design phase for our CRC project with SDG&E’s Wildfire Resilience & Operations division to upgrade the infrastructure to 11 Community Resilience Centers for ADA accessibility. SDG&E’s commitment to strengthen infrastructure for local rural communities has led to the investment of more than $3 billion for a variety of safety measures to prevent catastrophic wildfires. The CRC project includes ADA upgrades in rural communities of unincorporated San Diego to include Boulevard, Descanso, Dulzura, Fallbrook, Julian, Moreno, Pine Valley, Potrero, Ramona, Valley Center, and Warner Springs. Phase 1 of the multi-year project will focus on completion of ADA upgrades to the Lake Moreno Community Church and Descanso Library.
Statewide Grant Initiative
In the 2021-2022 Climate Resilience budget, the California Strategic Growth Council was allocated $100 million to implement the Community Resilience Program. The CRC program received additional funds as part of a $315 million General Fund package implementing California’s Extreme Heat Action Plan allocating a total of $270 million for grants, program administration and staffing, technical assistance, and monitoring and evaluation. The California CRC program will fund new construction and upgrades of neighborhood-level resilience centers across the state that will support communities during climate and other disasters, as well as build long-term resilience, preparedness, and recovery operations for local communities.
CBSI has teamed with Civix, Inc. for the Technical Assistance Program which is providing both direct application services and capacity building support to CRC applicants to achieve successful applications for development of CRC projects. Our team is focused on providing support to applicants who are applying for Project Development & Implementation grants ranging from $500,000 – $10 million to ensure alignment with grant guidelines, capital improvement requirements, and site readiness. Areas of focus include energy resilience, water resilience, air quality and public health, nature-based solutions, emergency preparedness and critical communications, mobility, and access.
To learn more about the State’s initiative visit the Strategic Growth Council at https://sgc.ca.gov/programs/community-resilience-centers/. To see how these funds are impacting communities ravaged by wildfire view the Toulumne County Resilience Center’s grand opening in 2022, which reflects a communities come-back story after the 2013 Rim Fire destroyed over 250,000 acres of land https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN_dzUbx0SI.