Frontlines: Sandy Recovery Updates

Frontlines: Sandy Recovery Updates

Disaster Recovery Ministries Team


From Tom Vencuss, NYAC Sandy Recovery Coordinator:

Many years ago, when I was hiking the Appalachian Trail, there was a small group of people with the trail name, “Go slow, go far.” They recognized that such an endeavor was not a sprint, but a marathon of sorts. They took all the ups and downs with a steady pace. While others breezed by them toward the next shelter or stopping point, they just kept moving along, and eventually completed the hike.

In many ways, disaster recovery efforts are like this. They are not sprints. They are marathons, with many ups and downs. And, as United Methodists, we often talk about being around until the end, or as long as possible.

There are many who continue to be surprised to find out that the Sandy recovery is still going on. In many ways it has fallen from the 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. It is our hope to use these e-mail “blasts” 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. It is our hope that even as it may go slow, we will go far.

Invitation  If you are interested in sending a week-long, weekend or “Done in a Day” team, please contact Barbara Burnside We are working on Long Island, Staten Island, in Brooklyn, Connecticut and Queens.

Recent site updates

Staten Island:  Fourteen persons, from three different organizations, including 9 from the NYAC Sandy Recovery ministry, were in Staten Island last week to assist a homeowner in her recovery process – the first team to work on her house since ReachGlobal, a partner agency, tarped her roof a few weeks ago. The team removed soiled items, took up floor tile, and began taking down mold-infested paneling in the basement. Some worked in the yard erecting a canopy to protect salvaged items, while others assisted the homeowner in sorting personal items. It is hard to believe there are so many who remain in this kind of situation two and a half years out.
A team of nine United Methodists flew in from California to work on several homes on Staten Island. During the week, three homes were in progress, a collaboration between the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), the Episcopal Disaster Recovery, and NYAC/UMCOR. 
Brooklyn:  Speaking of Presbyterians, a team of 25 from Pennsylvania, spent a week in Brooklyn working in several locations. These projects are collaboration between Resurrection Brooklyn (a PDA organization) and NYAC/UMCOR.

Connecticut:  A recent UMC team from New Paltz, New York, was the first NYAC Sandy Recovery team to work in Connecticut, as part of our “Done in a Day” program. This was a collaborative effort between NYAC and CTRises, a Connecticut long term recovery organization.  It is our hope to continue to work with CTRises to identify homes and deploy volunteer teams.

This past quarter, NYAC/UMCOR also provided funds to assist in the recovery efforts of ten Connecticut Sandy homeowners.

On Long Island we recently completed a project at the Shinnecock Nation, a Native American community on the eastern end of Long Island.  LI volunteer teams worked on a room damaged from Sandy rains and contracted to complete another larger room.  We are working with the Community Development Council (CDC) to identify additional Sandy-affected homes.

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 served!  And we’d love to have you come back!!!