Veteran-led disaster-response organization commits to providing equitable disaster recovery
LOS ANGELES (Jan. 19, 2022)—Veteran-led disaster-response organization Team Rubicon today announced that it will embark on a Rebuild program in Selma, Alabama, with initial funding from the Travelers Foundation, the charitable arm of Travelers. As part of its mission to provide equitable recovery in areas affected by low-attention disasters, Team Rubicon’s initial plan is to restore 10 homes impacted by Hurricane Zeta and the tornadoes from March 2021. Helping the local homeowners to recover will take over six months.
Selma is an example of how smaller-scale disasters often go unnoticed on a national level and are therefore underfunded. While recovery efforts are still needed in Selma, much of the support has left the area and the devastation has been largely forgotten by the general public. Lowattention disasters generally do not garner much, if any, media attention or trigger a federal declaration, making it nearly impossible for residents to access critical resources for recovery.
With funding from Travelers, Team Rubicon is assisting local homeowners with long-term recovery and resilient building solutions so communities can bounce back more quickly from disasters. Further, GAF, North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, is donating roofing materials for resilient rebuilding. The partnership with Team Rubicon is part of GAF’s social impact initiative, GAF Community Matters, which is focused on making a positive difference as neighbors by leveraging roofing expertise, resources, and products to help build resilient communities.
“Team Rubicon is a leader in disaster preparation, response and recovery, and we’re proud to support their work across the country,” said Erin Haberman, Assistant Vice President of the Travelers Foundation and Senior Director of Community Relations at Travelers. “The Rebuild program aligns with our efforts to create stronger communities by helping families secure safe, affordable and resilient housing.”
Team Rubicon is also collaborating with The King Center, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering people to create an equitable world by applying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent philosophy. Through this collective effort, the organizations hope to draw on the historical significance of Selma to raise awareness about the continued work needed in the city and similarly marginalized communities.
“We’ve seen again and again that low-income and marginalized populations are impacted most by disasters,” said Art delaCruz, CEO of Team Rubicon. “Our approach to disaster relief is rooted in the belief that every community deserves a chance to recover. In a place like Selma, the combination of physical hazards and socio-economic risks make equitable recovery from disasters challenging. Team Rubicon supported the community after the tornadoes earlier this year. Now, with our partners at Travelers, and the help of The King Center, we’re able to go back to finish what we started.“
Today’s announcement marks Team Rubicon’s fifth regional investment in its multi-year program to reach beyond the immediate response phase of the disaster cycle and into the recovery phase. The program began with Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and since that time, Team Rubicon has expanded its rebuild work in communities across the country. More than 650 homes have been repaired in Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria; Collier County, Florida, after Hurricane Irma; and Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Orange, Texas, after Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
Team Rubicon takes an all-hazards approach to its Rebuild program, incorporating resilient building materials and methods wherever feasible to mitigate the adverse effects of future hazards while addressing the community’s current recovery needs. This approach prioritizes building to Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Fortified standards, where possible.
Team Rubicon has continued to make investments in its approach to reducing potential damage of future disasters and increasing the resiliency of these homes. The goal of these innovations is to not only to get people back into their homes more quickly following the storm, but also to enable them to better weather the next storm and age in place.
Additionally, Team Rubicon delivers services to clients and their households to minimize their inconvenience and expense during construction of their homes, including temporary housing and moving and storage assistance.