Advocate

SBP’s mission is to shrink the time between disaster and recovery. More than fifteen years of recovery experience in communities across the country has shown us that human beings have a breaking point. When recovery assistance is delayed and unpredictable survivors are pushed beyond their breaking point. SBP advocates for innovation and policy reform at the local, state, and federal levels to improve speed, predictability, and access to recovery resources for survivors.

SBP Policy Recommendations

SBP knows that a prompt, predictable and efficient path to recovery will reduce needless suffering in disaster-impacted communities. In order to provide this predictable path, our country must innovate and improve its current long-term disaster recovery strategy. Disaster recovery in America is too complicated so SBP focuses on simple solutions that will drastically reduce the time between disaster and recovery.

Recovery Acceleration Fund (RAF)

Problem
Congressionally appropriated funds disbursed through HUD represent the most significant source of home repair assistance that vulnerable survivors can receive. However, these funds take 2+ years to reach the first eligible citizens in disaster-impacted communities. Families with means can self-finance repairs and be reimbursed by HUD dollars when they arrive, but no such mechanism exists for low- and moderate-income families. This delayed access to resources and lack of predictability often pushes survivors past their breaking point.

Solution
Recovery Acceleration Fund. In this model, charitable organizations using philanthropic dollars and social impact capital can make eligible home repairs for qualified, low- and moderate-income families who will receive HUD funds when they (eventually) arrive. This model would remove the 2+ year delay for those who can least afford to wait, restoring homes and lives more quickly.

FEMA Remote Damage Assessment Technology

Problem
After disasters, two of the largest sources of assistance are FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA) programs. Within these programs, FEMA’s primary method for assessing damage is sending individual inspectors, one house at a time, to collect this information with pad and pen or tablet device. For Public Assistance, local elected officials have had to crowdsource photos or use Google Earth to prove the existence of lost or damaged infrastructure. These methods of data collection are slow, costly, inconsistent, subject to bias, and often incomplete or inaccurate. Meanwhile, the insurance industry uses big data, predictive analytics, and sophisticated satellite, drone, and flyover technology to assess damage and pay claims faster than ever before.

Solution
FEMA adopts flyover, satellite, big data, and image-to-scope technology and methods used by the insurance industry as the primary means for assessing damage quickly, consistently, and accurately after disasters. This will ensure all survivors receive fair and consistent assessments and awards – saving time and adding predictability to survivors’ recovery plans and actions.

OneApp

Problem
FEMA, SBA, Unemployment Assistance, SNAP Benefits; these are just a few of the forms of assistance available to survivors in the wake of a natural disaster. Each of these applications for assistance requires a separate and detailed application process that can take weeks or even months to complete. The burden of these multiple applications can overwhelm some survivors, causing many to simply give up accessing desperately needed assistance and pushing survivors beyond their breaking point. In two of the most important applications, FEMA Individual Assistance and Small Business Administration (SBA) more than 50% of the questions are duplicated.

Solution

SBP proposes a combination of the FEMA Individual Assistance application and the Small Business Administration (SBA). By combining these applications, survivors will have a clearer and simplified path to access assistance after a disaster. This combined application will also reduce duplication between agencies collecting and verifying the same information.