Posts Tagged ‘FEMA’

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.

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.

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES $38.5 MILLION SERVICE PROGRAM TO HELP VICTIMS OF SUPERSTORM SANDY

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
For Immediate Release: April 3, 2013

Residents in NYC and Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties Will Receive One-Stop-Shop Assistance for Sandy-Related Resources

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $38.5 million program that New York State will oversee in conjunction with Catholic Charities that will provide over 200 service coordinators to assist individuals and families affected by Superstorm Sandy recover and access essential resources. The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) provides supplemental federal funding to states, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Tribes after a Presidential disaster declaration that includes Individual Assistance.

The DCMP provides funding for a partnership between a disaster case manager and a disaster survivor to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the survivor with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. The process involves an assessment of the survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs, development of a goal-oriented plan that outlines the steps necessary to achieve recovery, organization and coordination of information on available resources that match the disaster-caused needs, and the monitoring of progress toward reaching the recovery plan goals, and, when necessary, survivor advocacy.

“As recovery from Sandy continues, we’re entering a critical phase where direct one-on-one service will provide survivors with the assistance they need to get their lives back in order,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Disaster Case Management Program covers every facet of recovery assistance needed by individuals and families to ensure that those hit hard by the storm have their needs addressed efficiently and effectively. Working with partners like Catholic Charities, we will bring more resources directly to the people who need help the most.”

“Hurricane Sandy was absolutely devastating, physically and emotionally,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “The state, city and surrounding counties have done a remarkable job making assistance available to those impacted by this storm, but sometimes those affected can be overwhelmed by what it takes to get back on their feet. Having a single point of contact to explain the breadth of services and help navigate the system can be a tremendous help to individuals and families trying to recover from Sandy’s devastation. Approximately 200 case managers will be a portal of help and hope for those impacted as they begin to rebuild their homes and lives.”

DCMP coordinators, who will be stationed at locations in the 13 hardest-hit counties, can be a lifeline for people coping with Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, but who may be unfamiliar with the range of services currently being offered by local, State and Federal government.

Service coordinators 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 government- and insurance-related assistance. 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 Association loans to insurance advocacy and referrals to the range of not-for-profit and voluntary programs that have been established.

The Superstorm Sandy DCMP is modeled after a similar program run by Catholic Charities in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. For Sandy assistance, Catholic Charities will either provide the service coordinators directly, or sub-contract them out to locally-based not-for-profit agencies that have demonstrated experience with this type of work, such as the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Good Shepherd Services, Lutheran Social Service and the Center for Independence of the Disabled. Catholic Charities will also subcontract to several organizations, such as the Greater Chinatown Community Association and El Centro del Immigrante, which can provide these services in additional languages so that no New York community gets left behind.

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. Those impacted by the storm can call 1-855-258-0483 to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider. A full list can also be found online atwww.catholiccharitiesny.org.

The State anticipates that more than 10,000 people will take advantage of this service. Already, more than 250,000 New York residents have applied to FEMA for disaster-related services following Sandy. According to FEMA, in past disasters, roughly 5% of FEMA applicants take advantage of disaster case management services.

###

Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov


New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418

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.”

People Say Hurricane Sandy Is Over. It’s Nowhere Near Over.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Thirty-foot-high waves crashed through Evelyn’s street “so high, so fast that if we’d stayed another minute we would have been trapped inside,” she said, still breathing fast four months later as she related the event.

Never had Evelyn imagined seeing the ocean out the windows of her Seavers Avenue home, she said.  After all, the two-story semi attached brick and shingled house she  shared with her sons, Christopher, 14, and Nicholas, 18, was surrounded by fellow semi-attached homes that stretched more than a mile to the nearest beach.

But on the evening of October 29, Hurricane Sandy whipped the mighty Atlantic as it commandeered Staten Island roads, washed away homes, trucks and businesses and destroyed nearly everything Evelyn and her family owned.

“People think it’s over,” she said, recalling that night and all the tough days that have come since then.  “It’s nowhere near over.”

She, her sons, and their two dogs, Pluto and Poppy, fought their way through the waves.  They dove into their 2000 Ford Explorer.  And they escaped, literally, with nothing more than the clothes on their back.  Salt water, dead fish and debris filled the basement and first floor of their former home.

If it were not for help from volunteers who drove nearly 1,000 miles from Tennessee to lend a hand coupled with donations from St. Margaret Mary Church and Catholic Charities, she could never have rebuilt her home, she said.

Fortunately, St. Margaret Mary Church in Staten Island gave her sheet rock, insulation, doors, compound, nails, and tape.  They also gave her a $500 gift card to Home Depot from Catholic Charities.

“I now had everything needed to set me up,” she said.

But it was only a start.

This single mom had no money to pay for the rehab.  When she returned to work a week after the storm, her employer, an insurance billing company, told her not to come back, she said.  She could not qualify for unemployment benefits, she added, because the company denied firing her, telling the New York State Unemployment Office that they instead told her to “take all the time she needs to recover.”  Meanwhile, her flood and homeowners insurance still have not processed her claims.

So, while she and her sons squeezed into a one-bedroom apartment paid for, temporarily, by FEMA, she went online seeking help.  On a Facebook site set up for Sandy Survivors she came across five men from Tennessee.  They were looking, they wrote, for a dry place to stay in Staten Island so they could volunteer their rehab skills.   Although the basement and first floor of her Seavers Avenue home had been destroyed, the second floor was dry, she wrote back, and they were welcome to it.

When the Tennessee volunteers arrived – “three guys in their 40s and two guys old enough to be my father” – they discovered that she was one of the only neighbors to have the rehab materials they needed to get to work.  So they chose her home.

For more than a week they worked 12-hour days, tearing out sodden insulation and sheet rock and mucking out flooring.  Then they rebuilt the walls and floors using the brand new building supplies that St. Margaret Mary Church and Catholic Charities had given her.

Her story, however, is far from finished.

“People are scavenging for building materials, people who have it much worse than me,” she said.  “It’s a community; it’s not just me.”

Would you like to help?

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

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.

Empire City Casino at Yonkers Contributes $500,000 Toward Catholic Charities Sandy Response

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Over the past five weeks since Hurricane Sandy arrived, Catholic Charities has been leading parishes and communities in their ongoing recovery efforts.

In addition to delivering food and crucial supplies to survivors on Staten Island and in Lower Manhattan, Catholic Charities has also arranged temporary housing for over 100 individuals and families on Staten Island and in Washington Heights. Among other recovery efforts, Catholic Charities worked with FEMA and the New York City government to set up and run disaster relief centers on Staten Island, coordinate hundreds of volunteers and provide multiple services including counseling and housing assistance.

To help with these and other Catholic Charities relief initiatives, Empire City Casino has contributed $500,000 toward the Catholic Charities Hurricane Sandy Relief and Recovery Fund.

“We are grateful for Empire City Casino’s generosity,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York. “This donation has enabled Catholic Charities to respond early, but will also help our commitment to assist in meeting long-term needs.”

With the generous donation, Catholic Charities can continue to provide ongoing services to Sandy survivors, rebuilding lives and touching almost every human need promptly, locally, day in and day out, always with compassion and dignity.

“There are no greater deeds than charity and service,” said Timothy J. Rooney, President and CEO of Empire City Casino. “The devastation New Yorkers suffered from this storm is unspeakable and they need our help. Whether you donate $2 or $2,000, it will make a difference. No act of kindness or generosity is ever too small.”

To donate to the Sandy Relief Fund or contribute your time:

 

Or, text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.

Sandy Recovery: So Much Going On You Need a Road Map

Friday, November 30th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

After Hurricane Sandy tore through Staten Island, visits to this, the least populated and accessible of all New York City’s five boroughs, have multiplied in ways not seen since the Verrazano Narrows Bridge connected it to the rest of the city

“There is so much going on at the same time that you need a road map,” said Joe Panepinto, who, as director of Catholic Charities Staten Island Services is helping lead the hurricane recovery response.

Yesterday, US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis flew in from Washington DC to visit with day laborers who are assisted by Catholic Charities and have been active in hurricane cleanup efforts. Mayor Michael Bloomberg drove over from Manhattan to announce interim property tax relief for storm-battered homeowners at the Staten Island Disaster Relief Center manned by Catholic Charities staff and others every day, Monday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  And Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari along with FEMA hosted a town hall meeting attended by Catholic Charities staff and packed by residents still reeling from the super storm.

Now as the immediate shock from Sandy’s devastation lessons, government leaders, local residents, Catholic Charities, parishes and communities are rolling up their sleeves to focus on the difficult issue of ensuring long-term recovery.  Catholic Charities is manning the front lines.

Want more information? Contact us at cccontactus@archny.org.

From Budgeting to Business Help, Catholic Charities Connects Sandy Victims to Local Resources

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

By Alice Kenny

At the NYC Restoration Center on Staten Island, there are several social service providers available to offer assistance and information to victims of Hurricane Sandy. As the only Staten Island-based provider at the center, Catholic Charities plays an essential role in helping people get the information they need because its case workers are especially knowledgeable about local resources.

The areas of service Catholic Charities covers at the center are varied. Counselors connect people to local organizations and community resources and help them understand and access public benefits. They also offer budget counseling to those who are starting over and need to figure out how to manage their finances in a situation they hadn’t planned for. In addition to helping people navigate the complex processes of filing for service from FEMA and Rapid Repairs, case workers help business owners apply for assistance from the Small Business Administration.

For those who would simply like to tell their stories to an empathetic listener, counselors are also on hand to comfort victims.

To contribute to ongoing recovery efforts:

Text SANDY to 85944 to make a one-time $10 donation.