Posts Tagged ‘Superstorm Sandy’

You Come Into This World with Nothing and You Leave with Nothing

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Wincing as he walks, Donald Marcus, 70, surveys what is left of the eight bungalows he once rented out in Midland Beach, Staten Island, that provided affordable housing for friends and strangers.

“People live paycheck to paycheck,” he says, explaining why he rented out the one-bedroom homes just blocks from the beach for as little as $400 per month.

“I believe you come in this world with nothing and you leave with nothing.”

This is proving true for him.  Three of his bungalows destroyed by Superstorm Sandy have already been demolished by the city, including one where his tenant Jack Paterno, 65, drowned in the storm.

Two more, including the one he rented out to an elderly woman who shared her home with her mentally challenged brother so he would not have to live in an institution,  have been gutted right down to the salt-water soaked beams.

The final three he uses to demonstrate degrees of rebirth thanks to donations of time, materials and services he received by networking with everyone he meets, from the man he met that morning in line at McDonalds to the Catholic Charities Disaster Case Manager, MaryEllen Ferrer, who coordinates disaster recovery services for him.

Still, Mr. Marcus recognizes that his days of providing housing to the down and out are gone forever.  His former printing business up the street on Midland Ave that for 38 years printed everything from Pops Baseball cards to politicians’ bulletins and CYO flyers washed away in the storm as well.

“Not one dry sheet of paper was left,” he says.

Seventy years old, with no flood insurance and ineligible for FEMA loans to restore the bungalos because FEMA helps with primary residences, Mr. Marcus asks rhetorically “what am I going to do?  Start over?”

Catholic Charities cannot replace his former life, his Disaster Case Manager Valeriya Osipova says.  But it can help him get back on his feet, she adds.

As a disaster case manager, Ms. Osipova serves as advocate and expediter for Mr. Marcus and others whose lives have been upended by Sandy.  She created an individualized disaster recovery plan to advocate for access to needed services, coordinate benefits, and make referrals that range from obtaining sheetrock for Mr. Marcus’ houses to linking him to connecting him to volunteers to help repair his home.

Grateful for the assistance, Mr. Marcus tries to remain upbeat.  After all, Superstorm Sandy left his own home on Augusta Avenue in Staten Island undamaged, he said.  And his wife of 45 years who fell, broke her femur bone and was put on life support two months after the storm, is now recovering at home.

Yet the reality, he says, cannot be escaped.

“This is going to happen again,” Mr. Marcus says.  “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow.  But again.”

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.

Run the Inside Lane with Team Catholic Charities in the NY ING Marathon

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

By Alice Kenny


It’s National Running Day today — June 5 — and runners are rallying.
  

Just six months since Superstorm Sandy shut down the  2012 ING New York City Marathon and two months since the Boston Marathon bombing, runners are lacing their sneakers and preparing to take to the road.

Join us at Team Catholic Charities to run the 2013 ING New York City Marathon.

There are only a few ways to get into this exclusive event. These include elite runners who qualify based on running time. Lucky ones – just a few percent -  get selected through a lottery. Not-so-lucky ones who qualified but couldn’t run in last year’s canceled race get another try.  Members of New York Road Runners qualify by running nine races and volunteering for one.

And remarkable people qualify by running for charity.

And here’s the great news.  Catholic Charities is an official charity partner.

You can become one of the remarkable people running by qualifying for one of Catholic Charities’ ten elite spots.

Learn more.

Download the application.

Show your support.  Donate now.

Contact us at TeamCathCharitiesNY@archny.org or dial 646-794-2570

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.

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.

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Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov


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

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?

Upstate Catholic Charities Agencies Are Reaching Out to Help Downstate Sandy Victims

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Upstate non-Catholics  and  Catholics alike came together to support those downstate affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Through special collections, fundraisers, school events, and generous individual contributions, the total amount raised by the Catholic Church and its ministries in the five upstate dioceses was $1,364,822.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Albany Diocese and representing the five upstate bishops.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are still recovering from this storm, and these donations will be put to work right away.  We want our fellow New Yorkers, and all affected by the storm, to know that we stand in solidarity with you during this period of recovery.”

Bishop Hubbard, along with his colleagues throughout all New York, issued a special collection for Sandy Relief shortly after the storm wreaked its havoc.  Schools, parishes and the community quickly pulled together vital supplies and arranged to bring them to the disaster zone. A large symbolic check representing the donations raised was presented to Catholic Charities representatives in the three downstate dioceses hardest hit by Sandy including the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The response is especially noteworthy, considering that at a similar time the previous year gifts were coming into upstate New York to help with recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is the overall managing agency administering outreach efforts to help people in 34 counties throughout New York State still recovering from these earlier storms.

In accepting the check from the upstate dioceses, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of the Catholic Charities of the New York Archdiocese, said, “In every community of New York State, every day, Catholic Charities helps individuals and families to resolve problems and rebuild lives. When Sandy devastated so many communities in New York City and Long Island, Catholic Charities was present to be able to respond immediately to alleviate hardships and help hurting families. In the immediate aftermath and for the long-term, the range of Catholic Charities services are available to meet critical human needs.”

Disaster Recovery is a Long Process: Catholic Charities is There for the Journey

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Only a month after Superstorm Sandy, families throughout the Archdiocese of New York are starting the long road to recovery. Once the immediate needs were met, the focus turned to getting survivors back on their feet and returning as much as they can to normal lives.

A year after Hurricane Irene hit, there was still plenty of work to be done. On Make a Difference Day on October 27th, Catholic Charities Disaster Case Managers Dan Buzi and Salif Banse worked with two IBM volunteers to clean up branches and other yard debris that had been knocked over by Hurricane Irene from the homes of two senior women. The women, who had been both physically and financially unable to attend to the work themselves, were extremely grateful for the help.

As Jeanne M. Touhey wrote in the Poughkeepsie Journal, regarding the help she’d received from Catholic Charities, “Last year the aftermath of Irene left me with downed trees and brush in my yard. After months of trying to clean it up and injuring my back, I was the grateful recipient of the help offered … I am humbled by your generosity.”

To help with clean-up from Sandy, sign up to volunteer with disaster recovery: