Just when Patrick Quinn thought that things couldn’t get more difficult, Superstorm Sandy washed through his Far Rockaway, N.Y. home, taking with it most of his clothing, furniture and a lifetime of keepsakes and memories.
“I never thought for a minute that it would get that bad. But I saw it coming. I saw the water coming up my block, taking over everything,” said the 48-year-old Quinn, who suffers from chronic health issues and lives on disability.
Once the storm passed Quinn hoped to clean up his apartment and continue living there, but that wasn’t to be. All the bleach applied did nothing to retard the ever evasive mold which made his apartment unsafe to live in.
The hardest thing for Quinn these past few months has been living by himself in a hotel room provided by FEMA, without his five-year old Chihuahua, Shorty, by his side.
“Shorty is my pal,” Quinn said. “Wherever I go, he goes. This is the first time we have been apart and it’s been hard for both of us. I really miss him.”
Quinn’s first interaction with the Red Cross came as soon as he moved into his hotel in Manhattan. It was the Red Cross that provided Quinn with funds for food while he lived there.
“If it wasn’t for the Red Cross I would be going on the soup line,” Quinn said.
Quinn’s luck began to change when, with the help of the New York City Housing Authority, he found a one-bedroom apartment in Far Rockaway less than a mile from where he once lived. The problem was that he needed money to make this move possible—expenses such as a security deposit, last month’s rent, plus funds to purchase needed furnishings.
As it had for hundreds of others in the New York area displaced by Sandy, the Red Cross provided these resources.
When learning that the move to permanent housing was confirmed, Quinn was overjoyed: “The weight is off my shoulders,” he said. “I feel I can go forward now. I’m so happy.”
But his joy wasn’t complete until he and Shorty finally were reunited in their new home last week.
“I’m thrilled; I have my dog,” Quinn said, hugging Shorty while showing him the high-rise view through the living room window. “He means everything to me.”
The memory of the storm raging through the Rockaways and the unleashing of its fury is something Quinn can never forget.
Neither can Quinn forget the help he received from the Red Cross at a time when he needed it most.
“I would have been totally out of luck if it wasn’t for the Red Cross,” he said. “They were really good and came through for me. Without the Red Cross a lot of people would have been hurting.”