The American Red Cross closed its last remaining shelter on Long Island Sunday, Dec. 16. Located at Nassau Community College, in East Garden City, the shelter was opened in advance of Superstorm Sandy, Oct. 28.
The number of people staying in the shelter had steadily declined as residents moved into more suitable housing solutions. Red Cross caseworkers, working closely with officials from FEMA, and Nassau County, have been meeting one-on-one with the remaining shelter residents to help determine their needs and the next step for their individual recovery.
“We are extremely grateful to the administration and staff at Nassau Community College, as well as the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management, for their support throughout this disaster,” said John Miller, CEO, American Red Cross on Long Island. “The Red Cross opens shelters during an emergency to help people who need a safe place to stay; yet shelters typically aren’t intended to stay open for long periods of time. Working with our partners, we will help the remaining residents find more suitable accommodations.”
At its peak, nearly 1,000 Long Islanders called the Nassau Community College shelter home. Only a handful of residents remained at the shelter going into the weekend. Some can’t return home due to storm damage and are being helped through a transitional sheltering assistance program through FEMA. The program helps to relocate survivors to hotels or other temporary housing solutions. Some shelter residents will be helped through other community programs.
While the shelter is closing, the Red Cross response to the needs of those affected across Long Island continues.
“The Red Cross is still working on Long Island and is committed to helping people affected by Sandy recover,” said Miller. “We continue to provide food, supplies and other help to survivors. We are also actively working with communities to determine unmet needs and how the Red Cross can meet those needs– and will continue this throughout the recovery process.”
Since Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross has operated 27 shelters on Long Island, with more than 25,000 overnight stays. Additionally, nearly one million meals and snacks have been served to Long Islanders by the nonprofit, along with 2.3 million relief items like comfort kits, blankets and cleanup supplies.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost to those affected, thanks to the generosity of the public and volunteers. To learn more about the Red Cross response to Superstorm Sandy, visit www.redcross.org.