Posts Tagged ‘disaster recovery’

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan Reflects on Hurricane Sandy’s One-Year Anniversary

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Much has been spoken and written on the one-year anniversary of Sandy.

Three simple thoughts —

Prayers and thoughts for those who lost a loved one from the storm.  This is indeed an irreplaceable loss.

Continued support to those who are still struggling to recover – restoring homes and rebuilding lives.  You are neither forgotten nor are you on your own.

Gratitude for the outpouring of support and solidarity from so many, near and far. Without you little would have been done.

Catholic Charities helped the day after the storm, is helping a year later and will be helping into the future to ensure that each individual and family has the opportunity and help needed to rebuild their lives.  I am immensely grateful to our dedicated professional staff and volunteers.  I am appreciative of our donors who enable our response to happen.

Read the Staten Island Advance for information about Catholic Charities’ new survivor support program

Tired of Red Tape?

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Faced with an eviction notice, the declining health of an aging parent, recovery from a flood, or other tough problems?  It’s easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed trying to navigate the very systems that are supposed to help.

Catholic Charities provides compassionate, coordinated help from high-quality, knowledgeable professionals.

Catholic Charities’ assistance can take many forms:

  •  a recent immigrant can be provided with legal services in order to obtain work authorization
  • an unemployed new mother can be enrolled in resume writing and interview skills workshops
  • a father seeking to reunite with his children in foster care can take parenting skills classes

And that’s just for starters.

We assist individuals and families deal with multiple, overlapping problems and negotiate bureaucratic red tape. Sometimes, this can mean the difference between getting the help needed and simply giving up.

To find a Catholic Charities agency that offers coordinating services click here.

If you need help in finding the services you need please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-744-7900.

Hurt By Hurricane Sandy?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013


Whether you have applied for FEMA or not
— even if you were not eligible or were denied assistance — there may be local

resources available for you.

A trained, compassionate case manager can work one-on-one with you to:

  • Answer your questions about recovery
  • Develop a plan to address your needs
  • Connect you with appropriate community resources
  • Determine what financial assistance may be available to you
  • Advocate on your behalf with service and benefit providers

 

Call Today – Help is Here:
855-258-0483
Monday – Friday: 9am to 5pm

 

Find Local Agencies for Help:

 

AGENCY                                                                                                                PHONE #
Bronx
BronxWorks 718-508-3194
Brooklyn
Arab-American Family Support Center 718-643-8000
Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled 718-998-3000
Brooklyn Community Services 718-310-5620
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens 718-722-6223
Council of Peoples in Organization (COPO) 718-434-3266
Good Shepherd Services 718-522-6910/6911
Greater Chinatown Community Association 212-374-1311
Lutheran Social Services of New York 718-942-4196
Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty 212-453-9539

917-281-6721

Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton- Manhattan Beach 347-689-1880/1817
Manhattan
Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York 855-258-0483
Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) 212-674-2300
Greater Chinatown Community Association 212-374-1311
Queens
Arab-American Family Support Center 718-643-8000
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens 718-722-6223
Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) 646-442-4186

212-674-2300

Greater Chinatown Community Association 212-374-1311
Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty 212-453-9539

917-281-6721

SCO Family of Services 516-493-6457/5284
Staten Island
Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York 718-447-6330, ext. 121
El Centro del Inmigrante 718-420-6466
Lutheran Social Services of New York 718-942-4196
JCC of Staten Island 718-475-5213
Long Island
Catholic Charities Diocese of Rockville Centre 631-608-8883/8882
Family Service League 631-369-0104
FEGS Health and Human Services 516-496-7550, press 6
Lutheran Social Services of New York 516-483-3240 ext. 3030
Hudson Valley
Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York 845-344-4868

 

Additional service providers will be included.

The New York State Disaster Case Management Program is operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York under the auspices of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Emergency Management and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Hurricane Destroyed Home; Finally Someone “Has Her Back”

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Erin Smith spends her nights at a relative’s house and her days repairing her hurricane–torn home in South Beach.

She said that dealing with different government agencies after the storm was a daunting task.

“It was so overwhelming it made you want to throw in the towel,” Smith says as she walks from gutted to freshly painted rooms in her bungalow during a recent interview aired on NY1.

Catholic Charities announced last week that $38.5 million in federal funding has been allocated to its disaster recovery program with the help of Governor Cuomo. The program is modeled after a similar one run by Catholic Charities in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

The Sandy recovery program will provide more caseworkers who can help local residents on Staten Island and throughout the city tackle a variety of tasks to cope with the hurricane’s consequences.

Eligibility 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.

Two months ago, Smith was referred to Catholic Charities caseworker MaryEllen Ferrera.  The agency has about a dozen caseworkers on Staten Island who provide free assistance to homeowners hurt by Hurricane Sandy. Funds are allocated to the agency through a federal disaster assistance program.

Ferrera helped Smith get supplies and gift cards to rebuild her home. She has also reached out to government agencies on her behalf

“We get to know directors in positions to help and push through applications for our clients,” Ferrera says.

Smith says FEMA denied her applications several times. Ferrera intervened to successfully file an appeal. Finally, Smith received a FEMA grant.

Smith says her caseworker has not only helped her get help, she’s become a mentor and a friend.

It feels that I have somebody that’s going to have my back,” Smith says.

Check out the video on NY1.

 

Looking for help? 

Call 1-855-258-0483

Or visit www.catholiccharitiesny.org.

Electrocuted During Hurricane Sandy, Survivor Struggles to Recover

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.

Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand.  He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place to thrive.

For a long time, his plan seemed to work.  Mr. Takashi moved to California in 1977.  He developed a career as a photographer.  And he later made his home in Staten Island.

Never did he suspect, he said, that a disaster spurred by nature and not by man would nearly kill him. But when Hurricane Sandy tore through Staten Island, the subsequent flooding inside his basement apartment electrocuted and nearly drowned him.  It destroyed his health, his home and his means of making a living.

“Growing up in Hiroshima I helped other people and felt their pain; now others are feeling my pain,” Mr. Takashi said.  “Catholic Charities gave me the encouragement I needed to not give up.”

Monday, October 29, began like most days, Mr. Takashi said.  He was fixing a camera light plugged into the wall of in his Andrews Street apartment.

Suddenly he noticed water pouring in under his front door.  He grabbed for the camera light plug.

But it was too late.  Electrical currents bore through his right calf.  They shot in one end, out the other and left a hole as their memento.   He suffered a stroke, he recalled, then passed out.

He awoke to the taste of salt water, bouncing on furniture that floated five feet above the floor.  His right arm and leg no longer functioned.

“Help me!” Fuji shouted.

Hurricane winds and neighbors’ panic smothered his screams.  Night came and went. Fifteen hours passed.  Water receded.  His energy waned.

Finally, at 10:30 the following morning, his landlord knocked on his door.

Much of what happened next is blur, he said.  An ambulance rushed him to some hospital – he can’t remember which.  Later he was transferred to Staten Island University Hospital. For 38 days doctors treated burns that covered much of his body and physical and mental repercussions from his stroke.  Finally, he was transferred to Golden Gate Nursing Home where therapists began teaching him how to walk again.

After two months in a hospital and rehabilitation center, he was released to go home.

But everything had changed.  Hurricane Sandy stole much of his memory and mobility.  It destroyed his photographic equipment, stealing his livelihood.  And it tore apart his home, leaving his furniture, clothing – all he owned – rotting and covered with mold.

“When I came back home I had nothing,” Mr. Takashi said.

His landlord gave him a blanket and an air mattress.  But the mattress leaked.

“It was like sleeping on the floor,” Fuji added.

Fortunately, an associate of Fuji’s learned of his plight and called Catholic Charities for help.

Catholic Charities Staten Island has taken a leadership role in partnering with nonprofit organizations to speed services and support to residents of this borough devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  From disaster-response professionals who visit parishes to deliver information and resources, to volunteers who collect and distribute food and supplies, to neighbors checking in on neighbors, the entire Catholic Charities community responded, providing help, creating hope and rebuilding lives.

Since Mr. Takashi’s stroke left him wheelchair bound and confused, Catholic Charities Case Manager Marvin Walker visited him in his home.  Mr. Walker helped Mr. Takashi apply successfully for a variety of grants and subsidies including new furniture from Project Hospitality, appliances from the Staten Island Back to Basics initiative, gift cards to cover necessities from the Siller Foundation, help paying heating bills from the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and disaster recovery financial assistance from FEMA.  He helped Mr. Takashi apply for Access-a-Ride, bus rides catered for persons with disabilities.  And he gave Mr. Takashi food from Catholic Charities food pantries along with clothing, pots, pans, utensils and other household necessities.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities Volunteer Services paired Fuji up with Catholic Charities Anderson Avenue Senior Director Marni Caruso.  She volunteered to drive Mr. Takashi during her personal time to medical appointments and meetings with the numerous government agencies that suddenly play a large role in his life.

Fuji’s road to recovery remains long and difficult.  He has progressed from wheelchair to walker to cane.  Many memories remain hazy.  His finances remain tight.

“I never thought I would have to depend on others,” Fuji says.  “But without Catholic Charities I couldn’t have survived.”

Disaster Recovery is a Long Process: Catholic Charities is There for the Journey

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Only a month after Superstorm Sandy, families throughout the Archdiocese of New York are starting the long road to recovery. Once the immediate needs were met, the focus turned to getting survivors back on their feet and returning as much as they can to normal lives.

A year after Hurricane Irene hit, there was still plenty of work to be done. On Make a Difference Day on October 27th, Catholic Charities Disaster Case Managers Dan Buzi and Salif Banse worked with two IBM volunteers to clean up branches and other yard debris that had been knocked over by Hurricane Irene from the homes of two senior women. The women, who had been both physically and financially unable to attend to the work themselves, were extremely grateful for the help.

As Jeanne M. Touhey wrote in the Poughkeepsie Journal, regarding the help she’d received from Catholic Charities, “Last year the aftermath of Irene left me with downed trees and brush in my yard. After months of trying to clean it up and injuring my back, I was the grateful recipient of the help offered … I am humbled by your generosity.”

To help with clean-up from Sandy, sign up to volunteer with disaster recovery: