Community Resilience Hub
Northampton is working to create a Community Resilience Hub to support Northampton residents who face chronic and acute stress due to natural and human-caused disasters, climate change, and social and economic challenges. Our mission is to:
- Support the daily needs of those experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty (e.g., homeless, Single Room Occupancy residents, those living in extreme poverty, and those facing other chronic stress- 1% of the population).
- Support poverty alleviation and connection to services (15% of the population is below poverty line and 40% is housing burdened).
- Support the occasional needs of all community members during time of disaster and acute stress, improve emergency management
- Provide a regular meeting and event space
- Help address climate change, enhance community resilience and support our communities become more self-determining, socially connected, and successful in the long-term
During normal times (which continue to be times of stress for frontline communities):
- The Community Resilience Hub’s primary role is to coordinate resources distribution and services as a consolidated entry point for the frontline line communities. The ServiceNet Resource Center, the Northampton Recovery Center, Forbes Library, and some of our coffee shops and public restaurants serve some of this role today, but they are not sufficient. The hub will supplement the emergency sheltering role of Smith Vocational School during acute events or the Northampton High School for Covid-19.
- The Community Resilience Hub must also support and gain the support of all populations so it is ready to pivot to meet their needs during times of disaster. (For example, arts programming spaces.)
During acute stress, major disruptions and recovery (e.g., a major storm, disaster, or pandemic):
- The Community Resilience Hub must serve all residents and coordinate distribution and services in preparation for, during, and in recovery from major disruptions. The hub must include with dependable services, including communications, power, water, sanitation, consolidated entry to required services.
In 2020, the City convened a working group of city agencies and social service providers for the initial planning stage. The City will support the planning, site selection, and site acquisition, with final programming and operations performed by social service agencies.
- City departments supporting the planning effort: Mayor's Office, Planning & Sustainability, Health, Central Services, Forbes Library, Police, Veterans Services.
- Social service agencies supporting the planning effort: Community Action Pioneer Valley, Cathedral in the Night, Center for Human Development, Collaborative for Educational Services-Trauma Informed Hampshire County, Cooley Dickinson Health Services, Community Legal Aid, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Northampton Resource Center, ServiceNet, Tapestry, United Way, Valley Community Development, Western Massachusetts Housing First, First Churches, and Friends of Hampshire Homelessness.
Community Action Pioneer Valley, with the support of those participating in the planning working group, agreed to be the lead agency managing and coordinating the hub. Other critical partners who will help manage programs, subject to working out the details, include: ServiceNet, Eliot CHS Homeless Services.
Planning the Northampton Resilience Hub- (click here for report). In the first phase of the project, the City hired Jones Whitsett Architects to coordinate our space planning, with city, social service, and civic partners. In the second phase (our current phase) we are searching for appropriate real estate for the Community Resilience Hub.