Platform for Long-Term Disaster Recovery

Hampton Roads, VA



Joshua Behr



The Hampton Roads team implemented CIMA, a platform to match, following a catastrophic event, the converging donated materials and volunteer labor with the needs of displaced low-to-moderate income and medically fragile households.


Severe weather events have the potential to inflict wide-spread structural damage to homes, resulting in the displacement of populations. Lengthy displacement is associated with increased pain and suffering, reduced longevity, decreased educational attainment, and economic disruption.

Displaced households face a myriad of social and structural hurdles to repairing their damaged homes. The length of time between initial displacement and returning, once again, to stable, functional housing varies greatly across populations with low-to-modest income households and medically fragile households tending to have lengthy displacements relative to non-vulnerable households.

Disparities in recovery times across population groups present fundamental equity and justice issues. Pre-event disparities spike and persist following a disaster. Repairing housing for these vulnerable populations, sooner rather than later, mitigate known spikes and lessens longer-term disparate health, education, and economic impacts.


Our communities in Hampton Roads have led the way in first identifying recovery of low-to-moderate income and medically fragile populations as an important challenge for the region. From this community-initiated need, a collaborative partnership was formed among the community foundation, university, and several cities. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation (HRCF) is central to the Foundation-University-City Partnership. The HRCF, as an initiator and co-convenor of the planning grant visioning events is heavily committed to support the emerging regional recovery organization, Recover Hampton Roads (RHR), and advance the CIMA initiative.


The Convergence, Inventory, Matching, and Assignment (CIMA) solution is a management platform for housing recovery deployable by a recovery partnership, municipality, Long Term Recovery Group, or Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster, responding to housing damage and displaced populations stemming from flooding, earthquake, or tornado.

The CIMA platform aligns the housing recovery needs of displaced households with the converging donated material and volunteer labor flowing into the impacted region. CIMA prioritizes these resources to the scheduled repair of homes with households likely to experience the greatest displacement times, thus addressing fundamental recovery-related equity and justice issues.

CIMA is an essential tool to better organize, manage, and allocate resources in a fashion that speeds the transition towards permanent, stable housing for those that are most vulnerable and suffer the longest displacement times. The CIMA platform is designed to support the organic coordination efforts that form among nonprofits and governments and sustain these throughout the mid- and longer-term recoveries.


An adopted CIMA platform embedded in a recovery organization or partnership, utilized for exercising recoveries and poised for activation in the occurrence of a catastrophic event.

When deployed by a recovery organization or partnership, there will be a reduction in displacement times and speeded recoveries for particularly vulnerable households, thus lessening disparities in health and wellbeing.