In the wake of large hurricanes such as Sandy and Katrina, US cities are acutely aware that organizations working at the neighborhood level will be on the front line of meeting resident needs in the hours, days and weeks after a major event. Therefore, it is essential that cities work to enhance their ability to participate in a spontaneous neighborhood-wide effort to provide care and support to all residents.
San Francisco’s Neighborhood Empowerment Network’s Empowered Communities Program (EPC) supports communities as they work to achieve a pre-event condition that will allow them to perform at the highest level in times of stress. The ECP is modeled after the core tenets of FEMA’s Whole Community Approach.
San Francisco piloted the ECP in the Fall of 2012 in partnership with the Diamond Heights community to engage in a comprehensive cross-sectoral effort to increase the neighborhood’s overall resilience. The lead NEN agencies providing community technical support were SF CARD and the City Administrator’s Office.
This effort is now a scalable framework being deployed in other high risk communities across the City.