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Join the LISC/RISE Community Resilience Innovation Challenge!

LISC Hampton Roads and RISE, supported by Sentara Health, are launching the Community Resilience Innovation Challenge to identify the core social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities faced by underserved coastal communities and develop practical solutions to address those needs.

Coastal communities in the U.S. are home to 128 million people. It supports about 66 million jobs, creates US$ 3.4 trillion in wages, and contributes nearly 45% of the nation’s GDP. However, these communities also grapple with amplified economic, social, and environmental challenges due to urbanization and climate change.

The heaviest burden often falls on underserved and marginalized residents, who are disproportionately exposed to flooding and urban heat islands, along with the compounding threats of job insecurity, insufficient or outdated housing, limited availability of healthy food and transportation options, and inaccessibility to healthcare. All of these factors combined create a greater negative impact on their health, well-being, and livelihood.

What is the LISC/RISE Community Resilience Innovation Challenge?

A truly resilient community requires more than an effective response to emergencies. It also incorporates a strong health infrastructure, economic and job security, affordable housing options, and strategies to address environmental hazards.

The goal of the Challenge is to source solutions that address immediate needs but also consider the broader spectrum of factors affecting community resilience. By understanding and measuring these factors, the LISC/RISE Challenge aims to empower community leaders and stakeholders to make informed decisions, prioritize investments, and implement the most effective strategies for long-term resilience.
The Challenge will utilize well-established metrics and data sources that help in identifying and prioritizing areas of need including the CDC/ATSDR Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).

Key Focus Areas of the Community Resilience Innovation Challenge

The Community Resilience Innovation Challenge welcomes innovative solutions that can be applied and commercialized with demonstrated potential for social and economic impact across the following key topic areas:

Health, Wellness and Safety

In underserved communities, especially in coastal areas facing environmental threats, access to both physical and behavioral healthcare is critical. People in these areas often have difficulty finding quality health services, healthy food, and stable employment. These circumstances shape health behaviors and contribute to major health problems, resulting in higher disease rates and lower life expectancy.

LISC, RISE, and Sentara are dedicated to fostering healthier communities and enhancing the quality of life for those in need in Virginia. Potential solutions for this Challenge include mobile health clinics, home healthcare services, affordable childcare programs, innovative insurance models, food security solutions, and more.

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is critical in communities where high living costs outpace residents’ incomes. In these areas, a shortage of affordable housing can lead to overcrowding and, in some cases, homelessness. Moreover, the lack of affordable housing options may compel residents to live far from their work, creating significant transportation barriers.

Compounding this issue is the prevalence of the “Not in My Back Yard” (NIMBY) mentality, where local communities resist new developments due to concerns over changing neighborhood dynamics and potential decreases in property values.

This reluctance, coupled with inadequate local investment, ineffective housing policies, and rising property values due to urban development, creates substantial barriers to progress. In coastal underserved communities, environmental threats add an extra layer of challenge, disproportionately impacting the economically and socially vulnerable.

Potential solution areas include expedited construction, repurposed housing inventory, improved access for homeowners and renters, new financing models, and more.

Economic & Job Security

Understanding the crucial role of economic and job security in community resilience is essential. Stable jobs and economies enable communities to withstand shocks and stresses like financial crises or natural disasters, enhance individual well-being, and offer social cohesion.

This Challenge seeks new and innovative ideas that strengthen economic and job security and availability, contributing to the creation of vibrant, sustainable communities. If your proposal has an additional focus on climate resilience, it will score extra points in the evaluation. Examples of solutions include business development and entrepreneurship, financial literacy and management, community investment, and profit-sharing, among others.

Environmental Resilience

Coastal communities are often the first to experience the direct impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, bigger and more intense storms, and coastal erosion. Historically, underserved communities have been disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and climate change.

Enhancing environmental resilience in these areas is not just about protecting the environment; it’s about safeguarding the health, livelihoods, and future of the communities living there, which in turn makes these communities withstand climate-related impacts.

This Challenge is looking for proposals that not only address the immediate challenges posed by environmental changes but also contribute to the long-term sustainability and resilience of these communities. Solutions may range from climate adaptation and sustainable resource management to renewable energy projects and disaster preparedness programs.

Some example solutions include disaster preparedness and response, the development of green spaces for flood and heat resilience, resilience-based economic development, and green job creation.

Once selected, Challenge winners pilot their solutions in the living lab of the greater Hampton Roads region. This will provide an opportunity for the winners to demonstrate the real-world value and efficacy crucial for businesses to grow and scale their next-generation products and technologies. In addition, winners will also receive the following benefits:

  • Up to US$ 300,000 in non-dilutive grant funding
  • Real-world pilot sites in greater Hampton Roads, Virginia
  • Insights and feedback from pilot partners
  • Customized business accelerator curriculum
  • Expert mentorship from government, technical, and business leaders
  • PR opportunities and media visibility
  • Introductions to potential investors and customers

Important Dates & Timeline of the Challenge

Applications are now open!

  • 06.06.2024: Application submission deadline.
  • 02.08.2024: Finalists announced. Finalists will be required to submit additional documentation, including technical details of your solution, a work plan, and financial projections.
  • Mid-August, 2024: Finalists’ pitch presentations to the Selection Committee
  • 01.09.2024: Winners and funding levels announced

About the Challenge Organizers

LISC Hampton Roads is a local branch of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national nonprofit organization that works to transform distressed urban and rural communities into healthy and sustainable places. LISC provides funding, technical assistance, and other resources to help communities address the challenges they face.

RISE is a nonprofit organization that works to build community resilience in the face of climate change and other threats. RISE works with communities, businesses, and other organizations to develop innovative solutions that promote sustainability, equity, and resilience.

Sentara Health is committed to creating healthier communities. It is looking for new ideas and solutions that will support this goal and align with existing programs or support efforts to create healthier communities.

Ready to be a community & resilience solutions-builder? Apply today!

 

 

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