Project Resilience: How Recording Kindness Can Help Build Community Resilience
All of the things together, like being pregnant in a foreign country while mourning the loss of my brother, felt like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve done hard things before as we all have. But for me, these were the hardest together and the timing of them and I felt so alone.”
Author Rachel Hunt Steenblick was living in China last November when she decided to respond to her feelings of loneliness by turning a project she had been thinking of for many years into reality.
At this time, Rachel had recently travelled to the United States to give birth to her third child and between the emotional toll of once again being a new mom and the year anniversary of her brother’s death, she was carrying a lot. She needed something that could bring goodness into her space of grief….
Disaster Loans Entrench Disparities in Black Communities
One of the costliest storms in the past decade struck indiscriminately along the southeast coast of the United States in 2016.
The government’s response showed more bias. The federal agency that distributed $492 million in disaster loans after Hurricane Matthew based its approvals on a method known to harm some racial groups. In a flooded urban area of Jacksonville, Fla., the Small Business Administration approved only 26% of the applications for low-interest disaster loans to rebuild a home or business. Altogether, those loans provided just $60,400.
In the coastal resort community of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., the SBA approved 84% of the loan applications. Total value: $2.7 million. Ponte Vedra Beach is 94% white. The Jacksonville area is 96% Black. Across the U.S., the SBA has distributed nearly $40 billion in taxpayer-funded disaster loans in a racially disparate manner that has given white areas billions of dollars more to rebuild than Black areas, according to an E&E News analysis of 1.4 million SBA loan records since 2001.
The SBA has approved disaster loan applications in largely white areas at nearly twice the rate that it has approved applications in areas where Black residents are a majority. E&E News analyzed a database listing the outcome of every application from 2001 to 2018, the ZIP code of the property for which a loan was being sought and Census Bureau data on the racial population in the nation’s 33,000 ZIP codes…