A virtual small business "concierge" service, the BRACE Institute provides technical assistance and grant management for communities where relocation efforts are imminent. Our areas of focus include:
- Support to relocating communities with housing construction that builds on a 40-year history of successfully construction and maintenance of low-income housing and to conduct job training in a variety of construction-related fields.
- Technical advice and resources for farming communities on the means for reducing nitrates in lakes and streams and fishing communities on fish farming.
- Empowering destination communities on culturally appropriate new housing, and environmentally constructive community design such as solar and wind power, community gardens and much more.
- Job training such as sustainable aquaculture for fishing communities, green jobs, micro loans and small business training
- Young leaders training program with travel stipends for young from minority communities to attend conferences and build their leadership skills
BRACE in the US
BRACE was founded in response to requests from members of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw. This community has recognized the need to relocate for the past 15 years and has done extensive planning including a design for the new, environmentally sustainable community they will build. A primary aim is to reunite the members of their tribe who have already left the island. Together with the communities, BRACE will create a model for resettlement of endangered coastal communities throughout the United States and similar sinking islands of the Pacific. http://isledejeancharles.la.gov/
More than 30 Native villages are either in the process of or in need of relocating their entire village. In Shishmaref, Kivalina, and Newtok, erosion is causing extensive damage, creating new dangers to residents, and deepening pressure to relocate. However, due to high costs and land constraints, tribal communities in Alaska have been experiencing difficulty relocating to safer areas.
BRACE is in contact with the Alaskan communities of Shishmaref, Kivalina, Newtok and Quinhagak. These are only four of the dozens of Native Alaskan communities that need to relocate in the next 10 years. The whole town of Barrow, the northernmost town, is also making plans to relocate as a community.
The Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington, has also made plans for relocation to a mainland site. They have plans for their new town which will incorporate New Urbanism planning, carbon-neutral design and other sustainable feathers. http://www.quinaultindiannation.com/
BRACE in the Pacific Islands
THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
The Republic of the Marshall Islands consists of over 1000 islands, most low-lying atolls with no higher ground. Citizens of the RMI, and members of the Compact States in the Pacific are free to immigrate to the US and receive green cards on arrival. The poorest families lack the resources to do so. There is a large community of climate refugees from the Republic of Marshall Islands in Springdale, AK. Individuals and families come to the US for jobs and health care. Because of the nuclear waste in the Marshalls, there is a very high rate of cancer.
THE SOLOMON ISLANDS
The Solomon Islands has lost several of its smaller and lower atolls but as with the Republic of Marshall Islands, there is no high ground to which people can relocate.