Posts Tagged ‘hurricane survivors’

From the Philippines to New York, Help Is Here

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

 

From typhoons to hurricanes and pestilence to plagues, the Catholic Church maintains its centuries-established commitment of providing food, shelter and support for those suffering. Now, as tens of thousands of Filipinos whose lives have been destroyed by the devastating typhoon struggle to survive without food, water or homes, Catholic Relief Services is on the ground, providing help.  Meanwhile, closer to home, New Yorkers continue to rebuild lives hurt by Hurricane Sandy.

Newsday tells the story of Susan Gorman, 58, a widow who lost her home to 5 1/2 feet of Sandy-driven flood waters, and Catholic Charities’ continued efforts to help her and other hurricane survivors recover.

Ms. Gorman’s now-empty split-level house in Lindenhurst, Long Island stood across the street from a canal. She applied to the state’s NY Rising Housing Recovery Program — seeking to have the state buy her house — with the help of Isabel Clostre, a disaster case manager for Catholic Charities. Clostre stood next to Gorman outside the gray-shingled house.

“I left a year ago today,” Gorman told Newsday, recalling her evacuation to her mother’s home in Bellmore the day before the storm hit Long Island. “I thought I would be back in three days, and I’ve never come back and will probably never come back.

“This is the home I’ve lived in for 33 years,” she said. “My children were raised here. But I’ve had water in the house since the storm several times. The streets still flood. For me, I can’t come back here . . . I just can’t do it. My husband died a year before the storm. For me to go through this alone, it’s just not easy.”

Catholic Charities, at a recent joint news conference with fellow representatives of the Long Term Recovery Group, a coalition of 145 nonprofit, volunteer and governmental organizations providing disaster relief services to Sandy victims, made it clear their efforts are continuing.

From the Philippines to New York, families confronted by a crisis often feel helpless. Catholic Charities provides accurate and timely information and referrals, and will help advocate for the services required by a family. Catholic Charities crisis experts help individuals and families plan long-term solutions to immediate problems through counseling and financial assistance.

 

Do you need help?

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

Going door to door, tent to shed, to serve those still suffering from Superstorm Sandy.

Friday, July 26th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Although nine months have passed since Hurricane Sandy pushed ocean waves down the streets of Staten Island’s Midland Beach, upending cars, flooding homes and destroying nearly everything in its wake, some residents of this seaside community still live in makeshift tents and sheds.  Some even sleep on park benches.

Many still need assistance with basic needs such as food and shelter. This includes children, the elderly, and new immigrants. Nine months into this disaster and many believe they have nowhere to turn for help.

A number of local volunteer organizations have been created or expanded to address these needs. “Every night a volunteer goes out in search of those still in need of a meal and a place to sleep,” says Catholic Charities Community Development Coordinator Lourdes Ferrer.

Over three hundred Sandy survivors already receive support from Catholic Charities disaster case managers stationed at Catholic Charities’ office at 120 Anderson Avenue in Staten Island. But rather than just waiting for Sandy survivors to come to Catholic Charities, disaster case managers also go to them.

Catholic Charities manages the New York State Disaster Case Management Program. 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.

Many residents of Staten Island never before had to ask for social service help and were unsure of the value of these services.  They initially hoped they could do everything themselves.

So Catholic Charities teamed up with local “hubs,” ad hoc service centers that sprang up in neighborhoods hit hardest by the hurricane to provide food, water, clothing, supplies and services, educate the community and reach more of those in need.   Case managers from Catholic Charities now help staff the Staten Island Alliance office on Colony Ave, enrolling many new clients into the program and meeting with existing clients.  Case managers are also able to meet with clients in their homes.  To extend these services, Catholic Charities disaster case managers are preparing to staff another hub in the New Dorp neighborhood in Staten Island. By meeting staff at home, in local hubs and Catholic Charities offices, hurricane survivors can feel comfortable in familiar surroundings close to home among people they know.

“People think that because so many months have passed, that everything is back to ‘normal’,” Lourdes said. “But the reality is there are communities in Staten Island that are still recovering and struggling to accept the new ‘normal’.”