Posts Tagged ‘press conference’

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.

Immigration Reform: Mass Mobilization “from the Bottom Up”

Monday, April 8th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

As the Senate “Gang of 8″ completes its work on a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (CIR) and Congress prepares to debate its provisions, key leaders of New York’s diverse faith communities joined with elected officials at a press conference held at the Community Church of New York, 40 East 35th Street in Manhattan, on April 5. One leader after another spoke to promote just and humane comprehensive immigration reform, urging Congress to use moral values as a guidepost.

Speakers included Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of New York; Pastor Gilford Monrose, Vice President of CUSH; Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood; Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater NY Labor-Religion Coalition; Congresswoman Yvette Clarke; Congressman Joseph Crowley; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez; Chung-Wha Hong of the New York Immigration Coalition; along with several young New York City immigrants.

David Lopez, 19, an undocumented resident of Staten Island and victim of Superstorm Sandy, spoke about challenges he faces since the hurricane destroyed the apartment where he lived and the business where he worked. Now homeless, he is ineligible for FEMA assistance because of his immigration status.

“I started working from the bottom up,” David said. “I want to become something to be able to help this country but I am unable to because of my status.”

When Msgr. Sullivan came to the podium he thanked Mr. Lopez for sharing his story.

“Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to be part of these new New Yorkers that contribute to the growth and well-being of this country, the one they call home,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “We welcome comprehensive reform that provides a path out of the shadows, strengthens and reunites families and provides for fair and humane legal immigration opportunities.”

Immigrants and advocates will make this case in Washington D.C. on April 10th at a massive mobilization and faith community vigil for citizenship. More than 2000 New Yorkers are expected to participate.

“It is both overdue and heartening that the critical issue of immigration reform is moving to the top of Washington’s agenda,” Monsignor Sullivan said. “Immigrants have not only helped build this nation, but so many of our vibrant institutions, including our parishes.”