Posts Tagged ‘Disaster Case Management’

As Sandy Recovery Stalls, Wall Street Journal Interviews Msgr. Sullivan for Solutions

Monday, April 21st, 2014

By Alice Kenny

_DSC1063In the Wall Street Journal’s recent series uncovering shortcomings in New York City’s Sandy recovery programs, Reporter Michael Howard Saul turned to Msgr. Kevin Sullivan for insight. Frustrated Hurricane Sandy storm victims and elected officials, Mr. Saul reports, say City Hall has been heavy on promises and short on results.

“Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, which is helping storm victims, said homeowners’ recovery efforts ‘have been made even more challenging by layers of red tape brought on by the multiple layers of government agencies involved in the process.’”

To counter this morass, Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Wall Street Journal that his recently appointed administration has been working “day and night to hack through the red tape.”

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities continues to help Sandy victims recover.  From the time Hurricane Sandy pounded New York, Catholic Charities has been providing disaster relief to those who need it. From disaster response professionals visiting parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers collecting and distributing food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community has responded to meet the human needs of the victims, providing help and creating hope for rebuilding lives.

The New York State Disaster Case Management Program run by Catholic Charities has provided information, referral and disaster case management to nearly 22,000 households.

“Families and homeowners who are rebuilding from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy are still facing a complex and long-term recovery,” Msgr. Sullivan said.  “Our long-term case management for these families is critical to navigating some of the unintended consequences that arise such as potentially higher tax bills on their property that they did not anticipate.”

Are you struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy?

Donors and Devastation: Connecting the Dots

Monday, August 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Driven in on flatbed trucks, dropped off from backpacks and carted in on wagons, donations for Sandy survivors began arriving in Staten Island after Super Storm destroyed nearly everything in its wake.

As donors pulled in, many making their first visit ever to this island floating between Brooklyn and Bayonne, they faced the same key question.  Where could donations be safely stored so they would be disbursed quickly to those most in need?

Catholic Charities stepped forward immediately to offer its cavernous gym at Mission of the Immaculate Virgin Mount Loretto in Staten Island.  Now serving as a makeshift warehouse and distribution center organized and staffed by Catholic Charities, the gym is stocked with heaters, dehumidifiers, tools and supplies. Most resources are limited as donated stock can change daily.

The donation center illustrates yet another support system cobbled together by social service and government agencies, corporations and private donors to help Sandy survivors rebuild their homes and lives.

“What’s available today may be gone by tomorrow,” says Catholic Charities Community Development Coordinator Lourdes Ferrer. “With Disaster Case Management things are constantly evolving.”

Statewide, more than 5,000 of Sandy survivors receive disaster case management services.  Managed by Catholic Charities, the New York State Disaster Case Management Program whittles down the complex system of disaster support by providing survivors with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources.

Catholic Charities hired two full-time staff members to oversee the donation center and ensure fair distribution of its wares.  The agency also partnered with other Staten Island bases organizations to assure that all residents affect by Sandy, have access to the donated items and materials.

“When disasters happen, people just want everything fixed so they can get back to life as it was, but sometimes that’s not possible; sometimes there are no quick fixes,” Ms. Ferrer says.  “Disaster case managers play a very important and difficult role in the recovery process.  They have to maintain people’s confidence and keep them calm while walking them through a recovery process that can take years.”

  • If you were affected by Superstorm Sandy or know someone who was, contact your Case Manager to access needed materials.
  • If you do not have a case manager, contact the Sandy Referral Line at 855-258-0483.

Localized, Streamlined Support for Sandy Survivors

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Press conference spotlights services for Sandy survivors.

By Alice Kenny

Chinatown political representatives joined TV correspondents and reporters at a well-attended press conference held at the Greater Chinatown Community Association (GCCA) in Manhattan’s Chinatown last week to broadcast the latest information about disaster support for Sandy survivors. Watch it on SINOVISION.net.

GCCA, an affiliated agency of the Archdiocese of New York’s federation, is one of more than fifteen social service agencies extending from Long Island to the Hudson Valley providing local, on-the-ground disaster case management to individuals with homes or businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy.  The New York State Disaster Case Management Program, managed by Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York, will provide approximately 200 disaster case managers to assist individuals and families in the 13 -New York counties hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

Designed to streamline support and avoid frustration and confusion, the Disaster Case Management program whittles down the complex system of disaster support by providing survivors with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. This allows people still reeling from the loss of jobs and homes to avoid the need to search out multiple organizations that might respond to their various needs.

Instead, survivors can relate their experiences and submit their documentation to a single, local disaster case manager who guides them through the recovery process.  This local model of providing disaster support proves particularly important in sites such as Chinatown where language barriers can make a confusing process almost overwhelming.

An elderly Chinese man with lung cancer whose basement apartment flooded during the storm, for example, received different answers from so many different places that, by the time he came to GCCA for help, “he was ready to give up,” said GCCA Executive Director Chih-Ping (Andy) Yu.

Disaster case managers are both advocates and expediters for those affected by Sandy. They first assess if clients have unmet needs related to the storm. If people qualify, they will be assigned a disaster case manager to serve as a single point of contact for all  assistance, including that coming from insurance companies, private organizations, and government. Then, based on interactions with the client, the service coordinators create individualized disaster recovery plans, including advocating for access to needed services, coordinating benefits, and making referrals for services outside the scope of disaster case management. Existing Sandy-related services for individuals and families range from direct federal and state grants and Small Business Administration loans to insurance advocacy and referrals to the range of not-for-profit and voluntary programs that have been established.

The program is modeled after a similar one run by Catholic Charities Community Services in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

Eligibility for the Sandy New York State Disaster Case Management Program is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance or are undocumented.

Looking for help?

  • Call 1-855-258-0483 to find the location nearest you.
  • Are you a Sandy survivor who lives in Chinatown or speaks a Chinese dialect and is looking for help? Contact the Greater Chinatown Community Association, 105 Mosco Street, New York, NY 10013.  Phone 212-374-1311. www.gccanyc.org.
  • For a full list of disaster case management locations, visit www.catholiccharitiesny.org.

Catholic Charities Provides Intra-Agency Orientation for Disaster Case Management

Friday, January 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities New York kicked off New York State’s coordinated disaster case management (DCM) program by offering a two-day orientation and training on January 10-11 for disaster case managers, supervisors, and other key staff.  This kickoff training event was held at Cardinal Spellman Center in lower Manhattan.

More than 50 Catholic Charities New York staff members along with staff from various social service organizations including Catholic Charities Brooklyn Queens, Project Hope and BronxWorks attended.

Training topics included disaster impacts, resources available to help New Yorkers hurt by Hurricane Sandy, the role of disaster case managers, and essential steps for providing disaster case management and how to coordinate with other agencies providing DCM services.  Representatives from FEMA, New York State Office of Emergency Management, Project Hope, and Catholic Charities provided feature presentations.

Ongoing trainings will be offered on a regular basis to delve deeper into the material presented in this initial training and to introduce new topics and resources as appropriate.

Hurricane Sandy: It’s Just Stuff; Nothing Follows That Hearse

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

When Mary Ferris’ husband, a New York City police officer, died of a heart attack at age 40, leaving the young widow with three children to raise, she felt stranded, alone and totally unprepared.

She relived those feelings, she said, when Hurricane Sandy tore through the white bungalow home where she had lived for 46 years.  But compared with losing her life’s partner, she said, Sandy was just a bump in the road.

Yet she couldn’t help but compare the tragedies.  In both cases she had done everything right.  She loved her husband, treasured her children and followed experts’ advice on how to keep them healthy and happy.

And she loved her home and followed experts’ advice there as well.

“People hear about what happened to us and say ‘why did you live so close to the water?’” she says.  “But I didn’t.  I lived 10 blocks away yet when the hurricane hit, it was like a tsunami going through.  You couldn’t outrun it.”

Fortunately, she evacuated the morning before the super storm hit.  Had she stayed, she would probably be dead.

When she returned after the storm, she found her first-floor bedroom filled from floor to ceiling with water.  Floating furniture barred the door.

Ignoring the stink of sewage mixed with salt water, diesel and gasoline, her children, now grown, teamed up with a nephew, brother in law and volunteers she never before met.  They threw out the sodden furnishings, ripped out the walls, power washed the house and shock waved it with chemicals to destroy mold.  Her home parish, St. Margaret Mary’s, gave her a small grant.

“It’s just stuff,” she says as she looks at garbage bags piled high with broken china, family photos; everything she once owned.  “Some day Jesus calls you by name and you can’t bring that stuff with you.  Nothing follows that hearse.”

Catholic Charities Partners With Project Hope to Help Sandy Survivors

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Last weekend, staff of Project Hope accompanied Catholic Charities staff and volunteers to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to help New Yorkers who had been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The New York State Office of Mental Health Project Hope Crisis Counseling Program was created in November to help families, individuals and groups impacted by the storm, offering free supportive counseling and public education services. Project Hope’s confidential services promote resilience, empowerment and recovery.

On Saturday, Catholic Charities and Project Hope staff visited Baruch Houses to speak with residents and leave flyers in both Spanish and English for residents who weren’t at home. They provided information on Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Catholic Charities and other resources, including immigration services. Project Hope staff were available on the spot for those who requested additional counseling.

Collaborating with Project Hope to directly reach people in their own homes is one way Catholic Charities continues to work with parishes, communities and government agencies to get Sandy survivors the help they need. Learn more about Project Hope.

If you’d like to help families and individuals still recovering, text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.