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FEMA Releases First Ever Post-Disaster Equity Guide for Local Officials Rebuilding Communities

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Release Date:
November 20, 2023

WASHINGTON -- FEMA has published “Achieving Equitable Recovery: A Post-Disaster Guide for Local Officials and Leaders,” a first of its kind framework to help rebuild communities in a more accessible, inclusive and equitable manner.  This document provides guidance for local leaders and officials to understand, prepare for and execute their leadership responsibilities to promote equity, create accountability, establish an inclusive recovery planning process and recover from disasters while rebuilding long-lasting inclusivity. 

“From day one of my tenure, I have asked our agency to put the needs of the diverse communities we serve first. This has meant finding new, creative ways to better support these communities as they recover and rebuild after a disaster strikes,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “This new guide offers fresh insights and strategies for local officials and leaders to ensure the work they are doing to rebuild their communities is done with inclusivity, accountability and equity top of mind.”

This guide supports local officials and leaders in their efforts to identify needs, establish critical partnerships, leverage new opportunities, conduct strategic public engagement and make a strong case for recovery in an equitable manner. The guide is organized around eight goals focused on approaches to engaging and identifying the needs of all community members and ensuring a more accessible, inclusive and equitable recovery planning process. 

This is just the latest example of how FEMA puts people first in its program and policies. In September, Administrator Criswell and NAACP President Derrick Johnson signed an agreement outlining ways in which the two organizations will work together to help people before, during and after disasters, building on the first agreement that was signed by the two organizations in 2013. Since the start of this Administration, FEMA made significant changes to the Individual Assistance application process, leading to over 158,000 survivors receiving assistance who would have previously been ineligible. This has resulted in more than $926 million in additional assistance for survivors. In FEMA’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, the agency is committed to a goal of “Instilling Equity as a Foundation of Emergency Management.” 

Earlier this year, FEMA hosted a series of 60-minute webinar sessions to provide an overview of the draft guide and gather feedback from whole community partners. Much of that feedback was incorporated in the final document.

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