Helping Out Vulnerable Neighbors in Need

Like a chain, which is only as strong as its weakest link, each block or building is as strong as the collective well-being of all its members. In recent years, much of the support we used to get from one another has been replaced by services offered by businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

In an emergency, seniors, people with disabilities,and the infirm may not have access to these services. To help them prepare and cope in these situations requires the help of someone in close proximity. This action helps you and other members on your team become Resiliency Mentors, providing planning support to those in need who request it.

The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program described in Action 70 of The Cool Block is conducted using the following materials. Feel free to adjust any of the scripts to meet your unique needs and communication style. 

This program includes an outreach letter for your block, inviting everyone -- those with special needs, those with special resources to offer and everyone else -- to connect around emergency readiness. Thank you for making a difference in your neighbors' lives!

Program Support Materials

  • Neighbor-to-Neighbor Outreach Letter: This letter (PDF) is used to outreach to everyone living on your block. It will help you identify vulnerable neighbors to determine if they wish support from a Resiliency Mentor in preparing for an emergency. It will also help you identify neighbors with special skills or resources useful in an emergency, and point neighbors to your city’s basic emergency preparation recommendations. Along the way, you will collect contact information to create a block-based mailing list. Print this letter, fill in the appropriate blanks with your information, and then distribute it to everyone on your block.

    Note: If your team is taking Action 71, "All Together Now", then conduct this outreach in coordination with that deep resiliency action.

  • Resiliency Mentor Guidelines: Guidelines for serving in the role of a Resiliency Mentor to a vulnerable neighbor. A vulnerable neighbor in the context of this program is someone who is elderly, infirmed or with a disability that would need special assistance in the case of an emergency.

  • Resiliency Mentor Phone Script: Phone script used by a Resiliency Mentor in establishing contact and arranging a follow-up meeting with a vulnerable neighbor.

  • Resiliency Mentor Meeting Script: Script used by a Resiliency Mentor for conducting an emergency preparedness meeting with a vulnerable neighbor.

  • Tips for Communicating to People with Disabilities: These are some best practices for communicating with a person who has a disability.

  • Emergency Support Tips for People with Disabilities: These address various types of disabilities and supplement the actions in The Cool Block program.

  • Becoming Resilient: This is a condensed emergency preparedness program extrapolated from the The Cool Block resiliency chapters. It consists of 16 actions that include the nine priority actions and others relevant for a vulnerable neighbor. The Resiliency Mentor prints out a copy for their neighbor and supports him or her in taking the actions.