Addressing Community Resilience During COVID-19 Through a Capitals Approach: A Collective Case Study

Location: Monroe County and St. Joseph County, Indiana

Alumni: Rebecca Chase

Faculty: Kathleen Sobiech

The COVID-19 outbreak, which originated from Wuhan, China, was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020. The viral symptoms appear differently for all people and are disproportionately impacting older adults, people with certain pre-existing medical conditions, and minorities (due to pre-existing social inequalities tied to race and class). Within the United States, states are attempting to prevent the spread of the virus by issuing stay-at-home orders and closing schools, public events, and non-essential businesses. Similar to the national trend, Indiana has seen an increase in cases over the past few months. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb took necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19; however, the pandemic restrictions negatively affected individuals and communities in various ways. A collective case study, utilizing a sustainable livelihood capitals framework, provided an in-depth understanding of individual experiences contextualized by locale, specifically, Monroe County and St. Joseph County, Indiana. By analyzing the experience of residents in each county using a resiliency framework, this study elucidated community gaps and challenges and pointed to needed shifts to promote community resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Through data analysis, emerging themes were centered around the increased need for affordable and accessible housing, increase local governmental support, and incorporation of non-participants in mitigation strategies. To strengthen the community and allow for further resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, County Trustees, Board of County Commissioners, Housing and Neighborhood Development Officials, and City Official, need to provide affordable and accessible housing through financial homeownership programs; religious and civic leaders need to increase community engagement; and there needs to be stronger collaboration and cooperation from all individual, community, local government, and state government stakeholders.

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