Improve Your Home and Prosper: Southern Region Housing Resilience

IBHS Research Center Wind Test
Watch highlights from the 2010 IBHS Wind Test

EDEN delegate Claudette Reichel is the primary investigator for this 2012 Smith-Lever Special Needs Grant Program award.  The ultimate goal is to reduce the impact of natural hazards on southern region housing so as to enable and foster resilient communities and sustained economic recovery. Claudette noted in her proposal that, “Proactive mitigation and resilience … [will] minimize the impact of disasters on households, their employers, communities and regional economy. This is possible only with hazard hardy housing that not only survives but requires little time, expense, materials and work to restore.”

The project included a face-to-face collaboration meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at LaHouse. I’m not an Extension housing specialist, so attending the April 24-25 Southern Region Extension Resilient Housing Collaboration Meeting was a great opportunity for me to learn from the experts in the southern region. One thing I learned is that the Gulf Region’s humidity, high annual rainfall, high-wind and flood-hazard zones, and termite population are important considerations for building or rebuilding a resilient house here. Extension housing and environmental health specialists and agents have a lot to contribute to the conversation about making a home disaster-resistant and resilient.

Are you interested in learning what other projects were funded through the Smith-Lever Special Needs Grant Program last year? Maybe you’ve got a great idea to decrease the impact of disasters through cooperative extension programming. The FY 2013 request for application opened April 24, and closes May 31. Abstracts of funded projects and more information about applying for a grant this year are available from USDA NIFA.