Frontlines: Sandy Recovery Updates

Frontlines: Sandy Recovery Updates

Disaster Recovery Ministries Team


From Tom Vencuss, NYAC Sandy Recovery Coordinator:

As we move through this spring and summer rebuild season, the need for volunteers becomes even more critical. A number of rebuild/recovery organizations will be phasing out or downsizing in late summer and fall. We need to take advantage of the partnerships that exist, while they exist. There are still too many homeowners who will go into the third anniversary of the storm not in their homes, or living in compromised or even unhealthy situations (see recent updates on the NYAC website at where you'll also see how many are estimated to STILL need recovery help and what is happening with government programs or insurance inspectors' falsified reports that is slowing that progress.  There are links to recent media coverage, as well, that are very compelling.)

There are many who continue to be surprised to find that the Sandy recovery is still going on.  In many ways it has fallen from public view except when lawsuits or complaints or anniversaries arise. But it is still going on, and there are many who remain in temporary housing, bureaucratic limbo, or in untenable living situations. There are also many people, both employed staff and volunteers, who have dedicated themselves not only to the recovery, but to the people they serve.

It is our hope, and intent, to be here for as long as we can.  These e-mail “blasts” are intended as a vehicle to keep those who have served, and those who are interested in the recovery effort, up to date on what is going on within and through the NYAC Sandy recovery effort.  This recovery will be a long one.  We pray that even as it may go slow, we will go far.

Members of the NYAC Sandy recovery staff and some Sandy survivors enjoyed a day of fellowship and “thanks” at the home of Susan and Philip Shaw in Milford, Connecticut.  Susan is the NYAC Disaster Recovery Specialist in Connecticut.  Their home looks out over the Long Island Sound and was affected by Sandy.  In addition to the Sandy staff and Sandy survivors, Disaster Case Managers and members of CTRises, the Connecticut Long Term Recovery Organization, were able to attend.  All in all it was a great day.  Thanks to Susan and Phil and all who were in fellowship.

Call for Volunteers  

If you are able to assemble a team, even a small one, for a day, a weekend, or longer, please let us know. We have available worksites on Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island, and in Connecticut (see below for descriptions of new sites ready for volunteers).  In Queens, we are working with other rebuild organizations. Your support and participation is essential.


If you are interested in sending an extended-stay team (longer than  a day), please contact Barbara Burnside  If you are interested in a “Done in a Day” team please contact contact Barbara Burnside, Sandy Recovery Volunteer Coodinator, via email: or by phone:  203-470-1539.

Recent site updates

Staten Island:  At the end of May, a group of college students from State University of NY at Geneseo, which has been sending groups three times a year since the hurricane hit, worked for a week on several homes.  As a matter of fact, the team worked so fast the first day, our site coordinator had to find other homes to work on for the rest of the week.  We’ve also had a first-time group from CA working on Staten Island and homeowners have been so uplifted and encouraged by the outpouring of support and skill of each of our volunteer groups.  One whose home has just recently been cleaned out to begin recovery (see photo to the left), has thanked God (and the volunteers) for each step forward. 
Brooklyn:   Recently, Brooklyn has hosted three returning teams – one from Oak Ridge, TN, some of whom stayed a second week, a team from Woodbury, CT and a team from Gainesville, VA – a state with the highest Sandy volunteer rate outside of NY.
On Long Island:  June 5th, staff members from the White Plains NYAC office, Brooklyn and Staten Island joined the Massapequa Sandy Recovery office staff to work at a Massapequa home for a full day of "mudding".   The homeowner was thrilled to have the team's help and is still in need of many phases of rebuild and recovery.  The walls and ceilings have to be completed throughout the first floor, flooring has to be installed, and a kitchen and bathroom must be replaced so the need for more volunteers is obvious and most welcome.  
Connecticut:   This is a collaborative effort between NYAC and CTRises, a Connecticut long term recovery organization.  We have continued to work with CTRises to identify homes and deploy volunteer teams.  Right now, we have five (5) homes ready to be worked on and another two being prepared for volunteer work. 
We have two worksites in Milford, one each in Norwalk, East Haven, Wallingford and Bridgeport and work ranges from insulation and drywall to flooring, cabinets and packing or unpacking belongings and moving them to storage. 

In Queens, we are working with organizations such as Rebuilding Together and Friends of Rockaway to address homeowner needs.  This past quarter, volunteers logged over 6,500 hours, through the NYAC Sandy Recovery ministry.

Thanks to all who have served!  We’d love to have you come back!!!