BHAC is a career training center that has been preparing young people for jobs in media arts for 11 years. But recently, BHAC has been taking on a new role in its community – shielding some of east Los Angeles’s most vulnerable residents from extreme weather.
The conservatory is an example of what is known in California and beyond as a “resilience center” – a community space built to withstand climate disruptions like storms and power outages, but that also builds long-term preparedness by offering programs that improve people’s social, physical and economic health so they can withstand crises. Community members have found that temporary, reactive disaster responses like emergency shelters don’t adequately protect residents, and that, especially in disadvantaged communities, climate resilience must also address pre-existing inequities.
As hazards like wildfire smoke, extreme heat and power outages last longer and happen more often, more communities across California are turning to these centers for support, and the state has committed nearly $200m in funding to developing more.