Churches across Long Island served as walk-in centers for volunteers to work with homeowners impacted by Hurricane Irene.
* This story was updated at 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 10.
with an Iowa plates was parked outside St. Mary of the Isle Church in Long
Beach last week.
belonged to Mark and Carol Martin of Iowa City, a husband and wife who
volunteer for Disaster Response Services (DRS),
an arm of the Christian Reformed World Relief
Committee at the Michigan-based Christian
Reformed Church. Their stop at the church at East Park Avenue last
Thursday was their latest on Long Island, after setting up walk-in center at
parishes in Freeport, Amityville, Patchogue and Babylon earlier in the week,
and prior to making another stop in Massapequa on Saturday.
is to find and meet with any homeowners still impacted by the wrath of Hurricane
Irene in August 2011. They mainly assist people who remain unable to repair
damages to their dwellings, whether through their insurance companies, the
government or on their own.
finding that the primary need is bulkhead repair, flooding damage and mold, and
roof repair,” Carol Martin said of the Long Island families who seek
assistance. “We’re finding a lot of people who had severe flooding, and now
they are having mold damage.”
reported in August, Nassau County said the total cost of preparation, clean-up
and repairs incurred by Hurricane Irene was about $12 million. The county
$11.9 million and have thus far been approved for $10.5 million, but the county
had only received approximately $700,000 in FEMA aid.
with affiliates, including Long Island Long
Term Recovery and Catholic Charities
Diocese of Rockville Centre, the DRS’s Hurricane Committee searches for
people still in need due to a natural disaster, usually a hurricane, tornado or
flooding, which has impacted their whole community. In addition to posting
fliers in communities that they believe were most impacted, such as Long Beach
and other waterfront towns, DRS representatives also go door to door. Last
week, seven couples targeted certain neighborhoods in Long Beach.
before they arrived in the city, case managers were able to meet with 292
residents in Babylon. Laura Messano, a supervisor case manager for
Catholic Charities, said that some people that they assist are still not back
living in their homes due to the hurricane’s damage.
people we help are those who have not received any kind of help before,” Messano
said, but noted that the program is also for people who may not have applied for FEMA. “We try to contact the people who have exhausted their resources to get
reimbursement through FEMA or through their insurance companies and aren’t able
to recover on their own.”
assistance comes in the form of just getting homeowners the necessary carpentry
tools they need to rebuild on their own, or it could be money given to them for
necessary appliances, such as an oil burner.
provided through federal and state grants, charities, corporate givers and
other private donors. While Catholic Charities did not return a call on Monday
to elaborate on the programs, a flyer the charity distributes states that the
New York State Disaster Case Management Program is operated under the auspices
of the New York State Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency
Management and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
case managers know the damage homeowners experienced was actually due to a
natural disaster, Carol Martin said that risk assessors in part visit their
homes and make that determination. “It’s pretty evident whether their damage is
from the hurricane or not,” she said, and added that DRS’s primary purpose in
visiting with such families is to “hear their stories.”
week, DRS representatives will revisit some of the parishes they were stationed
at last week, including St. Mary’s in Long Beach.
Cales, the outreach director at St. Mary’s and St. Ignatius Church in Long
Beach, said this was the first time the parishes have worked with a disaster
relief organization. Their largest project is stocking their food pantries, and
they also provide various other services, from health screenings to financial
assistance for utility bills. Cales said that St. Mary’s welcomed the opportunity
to offer a site for the disaster relief program.
“A lot of
the time Long Beach gets overlooked for these projects because people see us as
being so far away,” she said. “I like to remind them that we’re here and
willing to help.”
week’s walk-in centers on Long Island:
Oct. 9 -
Joseph the Worker
Oct 10 - 10
a.m.-2 p.m.; 5-8 p.m.
of the Isle
Oct 11 - 12-4;
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