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Austin Climate Resiliency Training is transitioning to a new Fiscal Host

Austin Climate Resiliency Training cannot receive contributions at the moment. This page will be updated with more information once the collective transitions to a new Fiscal Host.

Austin Climate Resiliency Training

PROJECT

Our Austin Hub is developing a climate resiliency workshop to educate and assist vulnerable populations ahead of severe weather.

About


 The Issue: In February 2021, a southern migration of a polar vortex created several deadly winter storms that blasted through Texas, knocking out energy and water resources and displacing millions of residents including those in Austin. Officials estimated that at least 246 deaths occurred and over $15 billion in damages resulted from the extreme weather. Our hub chose natural disaster emergency preparedness as a climate issue to work on as the repercussions and trauma were felt across the entire community. 

In addition to winter storms, Texas has also been experiencing an increasing number of summer days with extreme heat, with record-breaking 52 days of triple-digit temperatures in 2022. According to climate change projections, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events in the region are expected to increase in the coming years. Extreme heat warnings require extra preparation to ensure that communities, particularly underserved communities, can survive without heat stroke. Our training program will initially focus on cold weather events and preparedness, but the ongoing shifts towards more extreme climate provide multiple seasonal opportunities to educate, upskill, and partner with our local community to increase climate resiliency.

The Solution: Climate resilience requires having the physical and social infrastructure needed to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate change in a fair and equitable way.

To that end, the Austin Shapers seek to develop a programmatic workshop to educate and assist first-time homeowners in our local community. First-time homeowners are a particularly good target for our proposed solution because enhanced resilience in this population can help individuals and families protect their large, and often only, investments, which are critical to their long-term outcomes. Moreover, this target population is well-defined per our partnership with the Community First Village (CFV) and would allow our project to have an outsized impact; considering that many first-time homeowners have limited financial resources and, as a result, reside in less desirable neighborhoods and/or dwellings in poorer conditions.

To further enhance our impact, as well as incorporate a DEI perspective, our shaper group seeks to specifically target previously homeless, first-time homeowners. This population faces additional obstacles in real estate acquisition, such as stigma, discrimination, and affordability, which increase the likelihood of homes owned in substandard states and in neighborhoods with limited infrastructure. With respect to climate, homes under these circumstances may be more vulnerable to disasters and extreme weather, fitted with subpar insolation, or lack energy efficiency — and their owners may not have the ability or resources to take proactive measures to address these issues.

To support this effort, we will commit five shapers from our hub, with additional members in supportive roles on an ad hoc basis. Given our team’s professional background, project planning experience, and marketing capabilities we feel confident in our ability to execute this solution.

The goal of our programmatic workshop is to provide free structured education to our target population within their community, such that community members (first-time homeowners) can take steps to protect themselves from climate-related disasters. The program will be free of charge to participants, with all necessary materials and resources provided; including a kit of preliminary emergency supplies in partnership with the City of Austin’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) department, as well as the funds needed to secure additional preparedness items based on a recommended shopping list. The gift cards will be purchased with received grant funds and reference materials in both Spanish and English. Our end-state goal is twofold: first, for community members to engage with the workshop and understand the resources available to them. Second, to drive long-term behavior change by educating homeowners to make appropriate purchases and utilize the supplied kits to appreciably enhance the climate resilience of their homes. 

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