Posts Tagged ‘Long Island’

“We Don’t Give Up”

Friday, January 30th, 2015
(L-R) Jeanne Marshall, Evelyn Wilburn, and Valeriya Osipova

(L-R) Jeanne Marshall, Evelyn Wilburn, and Valeriya Osipova

By Alice Kenny

New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), the not-for-profit operator of the Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable that provides private disaster-support funding source of last resort, named Catholic Charities NY its Partner of the Year.  It also honored three of our Staten Island disaster case managers, Jeanne Marshall, Evelyn Wilburn and Valeriya Osipova, for their extraordinary work helping Hurricane Sandy survivors recover.

“We don’t give up,” says Catholic Charities Staten Island Disaster Case Management  Program Manager Amy Silverman, explaining how Catholic Charities earned the awards.

Catholic Charities disaster case managers worked first with federal, state and local government as well as private funding sources to help Hurricane Sandy survivors.  But nearly all of these resources, from FEMA to the Red Cross to insurance carriers, have now completed their work.  The Unmet Needs Roundtables, operated throughout the city by NYDIS, responds to the significant need that remains.

Nursing Home Aid Cherri Puma, for example, needed to quickly restore her Hurricane Sandy destroyed Staten Island home to could care for her wheelchair-bound nonverbal daughter. So she took out loans and put bills on credit to cover the more than $100,000 reconstruction cost.  Catholic Charities Disaster Case Manager Jeanne Marshall worked with traditional funding sources to recoup the costs.  When they fell short, she presented Ms. Puma’s case to NYDIS, ultimately scoring the remaining $22,000 Ms. Puma needed to pay her home reconstruction debt and obtain needed furniture and appliances.

“Jeanne will go to bat for her clients and won’t let up until the work is done,” Ms. Silverman says.

She shares this tenacity with fellow “Tenacity Award” honoree Valeriya Osipova.

“Valeriya will fight for her clients until they get what they need,” Ms. Silverman says.

They also share it with Evelyn Wilburn, who was awarded “Top DCM Unmet Needs Roundtable Presenter” for getting NYDIS awards for 20 of her clients. “Evelyn is organized and methodical, going through each case point by point so she is able to present cases regularly, and get them funded.”

In fact, all 91 cases with unmet Sandy recovery needs that were presented by Catholic Charities disaster case managers received awards from NYDIS and dozens more are pending.

“They win by being methodical, tenacious, knowing their cases inside out and getting their clients the help they deserve,” Ms. Silverman says.

By bestowing this award on Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York, NYDIS was also acknowledging the work of Catholic Charities in directing the New York State Disaster Case Management Program.  This program provides disaster case managers to families in 13 New York State counties who were impacted by Superstorm Sandy.  With 200 case managers in 17 agencies, this program plays an essential partnership role with private funders such as the Unmet Need Roundtables in New York City, Long Island, and the upstate counties.  According to Helene Lauffer, Catholic Charities’ director of the New York State Disaster Case Management Program, “private funders rely upon disaster case managers to prepare, vet, and present cases for consideration at the unmet needs roundtables.  Through this process, and the partnership with NYDIS, disaster case managers have been able to secure funds to bring hundreds, if not thousands of clients back to stability and self-sufficiency.” 

Check out this Facebook photo album shot at the awards ceremony.

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

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

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.
  • For a full list of disaster case management locations, visit

Hurricane Irene: Families Still Grappling with Frustration, Despair – and Gratitude

Friday, March 1st, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Nearly two years after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee swept through New York State, families still struggled with exposed walls and wires, no running water and no heat.

The Benson family from Lake George who were recently profiled on CBS 6 Albany News spoke of their  frustration, aggravation and despair – and their gratitude that relief is finally here.

Catholic Charities New York, in recognition for its success helping victims within the Archdiocese of New York recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, now provides disaster recovery services beyond the Hudson Valley.  The Catholic Charities Disaster Case Management Program  is working directly with the New York State Office of Emergency Management and partner agencies to provide ongoing case management for nearly 3,000 families spread over 34 counties from Long Island to the Canadian border.

While many short-term goals following these massive storms have been met, Catholic Charities is now focusing on helping families with long-term case management to rebuild their homes and lives.

“We’re just thankful that someone is worried about us,” Mr. Benson said.

Whether it is Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, Catholic Charities is here to help.

Day in and day out, Catholic Charities provides a vast range of programs and services for those struggling with long-term needs or confronting sudden disaster. Our federation of agencies offers a variety of specialized assistance designed to meet individual needs, non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

Looking for help?