It takes roots to weather the storm, a pandemic, economic collapse, and a neglected democracy. In the midst of the trauma and toll that storms such as Katrina, Sandy, and Maria have had on our communities, the current pandemic’s inequitable impacts, or the long history of economic and political disenfranchisement, frontline communities have created sophisticated and strong networks of response, recovery, and rebuilding. We must invest in these roots to strengthen their reach to protect the most marginalized, while leading the way to a more just recovery.
This is one of the Policy Planks of the United Frontline Table’s toolkit A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy. The policy planks are one of three tools in the kit, together with series of Strategy Questions and the Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform Framework. Make sure the check out the section on How to Use This Resource to Enhance Your Work and the Working Definitions.
Policy Stances and Priorities
Right to Return
Protect the rights of climate migrants and climate refugees who settle in new communities, while providing a right to return to lands that remain livable and/or providing full and fair compensation for losses. For example, Alaska Native villages, which are facing a myriad of legal, political, cultural, and economic factors complicating government funding for finding new lands for relocation from melting permafrost and ice.
Community Governance of Restoration Practices
Support restoration of land, soil, and water through community governance and care, prioritizing Indigenous and rural communities impacted by climate disasters.
Fair Housing Recovery
Fix discriminatory inequities in disaster housing assistance and long-term housing recovery. Codify enforceable federal standards, rules, and procedures for prioritizing low-income homeowners, renters, and unhoused people in the allocation of housing aid and recovery resources, with a particular focus on long-term housing recovery programs.
Invest in Community Hubs
Move resources to build out local infrastructure and community hubs powered by renewable energy to meet the needs of disaster-impacted communities to offer broadband services, and to provide shelter, heat/cooling, electricity, food, water, medicine, and communication in times of crisis and need.
Invest funds in Mutual Aid Collectives
Community initiatives are often more effective and impactful in disbursing funds, supplies, and counseling support compared to national nonprofits. Funding should be made available to staff local mutual aid networks, and these centers should be prioritized for disaster and federal funding support in order to move resources in local and accountable ways.
Just and Equitable Recovery Funding
Increase funding and resources to support community-driven recovery and mid- to long-term rebuilding and implementation projects with improvements that further equitable mechanisms for adaptation, recovery, and rebuilding. Local control should be fostered for administering disaster insurance programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program, rather than allowing private companies to control these resources, services, and processes.