NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched NYC Restore, a comprehensive effort to connect residents and businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy with financial, health, environmental, nutritional and residential services, as well as Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) reimbursement processing.
The initiative consists of seven NYC Restoration Centers, accessible, neighborhood offices located in the communities that were hit the hardest to provide long-term assistance to New Yorkers. The centers located in Far Rockaway, Gravesend, Coney Island and Staten Island open today, while the Centers in Red Hook, Breezy Point and Throggs Neck-Pelham Bay will open later in the week.
The Restoration Centers bring together information and referral to all of the City government services available in the aftermath of the storm. FEMA staff is onsite to perform benefits intake, as well as provide ongoing management and updates of applicants’ FEMA cases. NYC Restore also partners with non-profit community-based organizations including SCO Family Services, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn & Queens, Jewish Board of Children & Family Services, Catholic Charities Community Services – Staten Island, FEGS, Good Shepherd Services, Red Hook Initiative, Shorefront Y and Bronxworks to provide support services in the Restoration Centers. The Mayor made the announcement at the Far Rockaway Restoration Center where he was joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, Human Resources Administrator Commissioner Robert Doar and Diahann Billings-Burford, New York City’s Chief Service Office.
“We are taking our ongoing relief efforts an important step further by setting up one-stop city offices that make it simpler and more convenient for New Yorkers get the help they need,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The Restoration Centers will be an invaluable resource for the New Yorkers most impacted by the storm – and for the communities hit hardest.”
“As power returns, residents are coming home to put their lives back together again,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “These will be trying times for them and the Restoration Centers bring social and emotional support services to care for their needs, with public agencies and community based non-profits side by side to address the long term effects of the storm.”
“The Restoration Centers will be in locations convenient to our communities – bringing government services to the community in co-located service centers where getting financial counseling, public assistance information, and home building repairs is as simple as moving from table to table,” said HRA Commissioner Doar. “Extended 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM hours of operation will allow residents to access the centers in the early mornings and evenings as well.”
“Getting back to normal is impossible if the damage from the storm has destroyed your most basic needs – a safe and secure home and the ability to provide for your family,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “The Restoration Centers will house the community point of contact for the Rapid Repair program, allowing residents and businesses to schedule emergency repair services.”
“Mayor Bloomberg is committed to helping the residents and businesses impacted most by the storm recover as quickly as possible,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “With the opening of the Restoration Centers our Administration is taking another significant step to accelerate the City’s recovery.”
Deputy Mayor Gibbs, along with Commissioner Doar, will oversee the Restoration Centers. Each center will coordinate local resources to accommodate the specific needs of the communities where they are located. Staff from HRA will connect impacted New Yorkers with benefit information such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and temporary cash assistance. Additionally, information will be available regarding financial and rebuilding assistance to residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged. The Department of Small Business Services also will provide information and assistance on loans and reimbursements to small business owners. Other onsite New York City agencies include the New York City Department of Health, Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department for the Aging.
In addition, partner State agencies including the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Department of Labor, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Housing and Community Renewal, and the Department of Insurance will be co-located in the Restoration Centers to help New Yorkers with their recovery needs.
NYC Rapid Repairs:
Homeowners whose property has sustained damage from Sandy are now able to sign up for the NYC Rapid Repairs program by calling 311, going to www.NYC.gov or visiting a Restoration Center. After signing up, homeowners will be contacted within 48 hours to set up a free assessment – a home visit by licensed contractors who will review damage and create a work order for necessary repairs to make the home livable. After receiving an assessment, homeowners can choose sign up to have the repair work done by the City’s contractors as quickly as possible. They can also choose to have the repairs done by a contractor they hire on their own, using FEMA funds.
Resources in the Community:
In addition to the information and referral to services available at the Restorations Centers, the City is coordinating the distribution of food and water, and door to door medical assessments in the most affected areas.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Food and Water Distribution Centers have been organized by the Mayor’s Office, distributing approximately 1.9 million meals, over 500,000 bottles of water, and nearly 150,000 blankets since the end of October.
The Mayor’s Office also has been organizing teams of volunteers to conduct door-to-door checks on residents in the most affected areas. Numerous non-profits, including Catholic Charities, Harlem Children’s Zone, United Way, Human Services Council, New York Cares, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies have been participating in these efforts. Approximately 1,200 volunteers have reached up to 2,000 people each day to check on residents, deliver meals, and assist with clean-up.
In addition, 29 teams consisting of paramedics, members of the National Guard, and Health Department staff went door-to-door in high-rise residential buildings in Far Rockaway and Coney Island to visit residents to make sure that their medical needs were being met, conduct medical assessments to determine if residents were safe, and connect them to prescription medications. The New York City Health Department coordinated the effort with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Guard. The teams focused on assessing the wellbeing of residents who had not been able to leave their apartments and who may have been without water, electricity and heat. Thus far, the teams have reached 18,365 buildings and visited more than 6,500 residents.
In Red Hook, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is partnering with the Visiting Nurse Services of New York (VNS), NYPD, FDNY, and FEMA to conduct door to door visits in Red Hook Houses. Nurses and staff from VNS will check on residents, conduct medical assessments, and connect them to medical care, when necessary.
Anyone interested in helping in the relief efforts can get information about volunteering at nyc.gov.
Personal Hygiene Supply Distribution:
New York City and the Mayor’s Fund are working with RCano Events, City Harvest, and Soap.com to distribute 6,500 packages of personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies. Volunteers are assembling packages that include critical items like soap, toilet paper, deodorant as well as paper towels, toothbrush and toothpaste. City Harvest will load and deliver the packages to non-profits in the communities most affected by the Hurricane.
Charitable Donations: Goods and Services:
Cash remains the most helpful form of donation to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. For donation of material goods, donors are encouraged to utilize organizations who partner with the City in its disaster relief operations: Salvation Army, Housing Works, and Catholic Charities. For food donations, nonperishable items and bottled water are of highest priority. City Harvest, Food Bank, and Met Council are organizations who partner with the City on donation of food services. For a list of organizations accepting clothing and food donations, please visit (website).
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City:
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City accepts financial donations from organizations and individuals to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. To date, more than $35 million has been donated by more than 10,000 donors from across the country. One hundred percent of cash donations are dispersed to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and organizations. To learn more or to make a donation, please visit: nyc.gov.