Posts Tagged ‘New York State Disaster Case Management Program’

Extreme Makeover for Storm-Wrecked Home

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Lori Van Buren / Times Union

The clamor of an army of hammers and power saws echoed through the woods off a dirt road in a rural upstate town of Grafton last week.

The rustic abode of Susan Swart on Banker School Way was getting a makeover thanks to Catholic Charities and Home Depot. Two years ago, Tropical Storm Irene damaged the home where the 60-year-old woman has lived for 36 years.

“The rain here from Irene was horrendous and a downburst wind gust took a bunch of 70-foot-tall trees down right over there,” Swart said, pointing out her window to a gap in the woods that surround her home. “The water was just flowing down my walls and we had no electricity for two weeks.”

The damage caused wood rot in the roof, damage so bad that two volunteer roofers accidentally put their feet through the roof while walking on it.

Catholic Charities is coordinating repairs.  Catholic Charities of Albany is one of the many agencies providing support to disaster survivors of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Super Storm Sandy through the New York State Disaster Case Management Program.   The 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).

“I thank God for Catholic Charities and these wonderful workers,” Swart said standing near her front door that was surrounded by climbing morning glories. “It’s a godsend because the roof would not have made it through another winter.”

Check out these photos and read the full story published in the Times Union.

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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.

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’.”

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.