A unique, public-private partnership that received $5 million from the American Red Cross is helping people address mold and water damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
The Red Cross partnered with the Robin Hood Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations (HRO) and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for the $15 million mold treatment program. This week, the program marks completion of mold treatment on more than 1,000 homes.
The program is administered by Neighborhood Revitalization NYC (NRNYC), an affiliate of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The organization has 30 years of experience working in New York City. The mold treatment program is the largest coordinated effort in New York City to address mold and water damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“Through LISC and this program, thousands of New Yorkers have been able to return to their homes to enjoy a mold-free, healthy living environment,” said Josh Lockwood, CEO, American Red Cross Greater New York Region.
An additional 400 homes have treatment in progress, and the program is committed to treating at least 2,000 homes, with potential to expand.
“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, and our solid partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations, Mayor’s Fund and Robin Hood, this work continues every day,” Lockwood said.
“In the more than 20 years I have worked in disaster recovery management, this is one of the best examples of an effective and expandable program to address the significant issue of mold,” said Brad Gair, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.
“Along with our partners we’re pleased that we’ve been able to help New Yorkers take an important step toward recovery,” said Denise Scott, Managing Director, LISC NYC. “There is still more work to be done and we are committed to treating many more homes.”
Residents who qualify for the program receive mold treatment by professional contractors free of charge. First, professionals complete a comprehensive assessment of the home, which includes moisture readings and inspection of basement and first floor levels and crawl spaces where they exist. Next, the home is scheduled for the appropriate mold treatment, which can average four to six days, depending on the severity of the problem. The process concludes when an inspector verifies that all visible mold has been treated. The program is open to homeowners and renters.
Renters need to obtain approval from a landlord in order accept these free services; in cases where they are unable to do so, free legal assistance is available from New York Legal Assistance Group thanks to a Mayor’s Fund grant, and may be accessed by calling 311.
Robert Vento lives in the Oakwood Beach neighborhood of Staten Island. His home was one of the 1,000 to have mold treatment completed as part of the program.
“I’m very appreciative this program was available for people at the darkest time in their lives. Everyone from start to finish was very helpful, courteous and polite,” Vento said. “I give a lot of credit to everyone that is a part of the program.”
Residents who have mold, or think they might have mold in their homes, are urged to apply for this free program by calling 1-855-740-MOLD (6653). The call center operates Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at blog.redcross.org.
About the Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund:
Founded in 1988, Robin Hood is New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and has focused on finding, funding and creating programs and schools that generate meaningful results for families in New York’s poorest neighborhoods. The Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund has granted tens of millions of dollars to organizations throughout New York’s tri-state region that help individuals and families recover from the devastating effects of the storm. In addition, Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to organizations helping victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their lives.
About the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations:
The Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations is committed to planning and implementing innovative and effective solutions to the housing needs caused by Hurricane Sandy. To this end, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Operations created and will administer NYC Build it Back, a program to assist residents in the five boroughs whose primary homes were damaged by the storm. Homeowners, landlords and tenants affected by Sandy who still have unmet housing needs are urged to register for NYC Build it Back by calling 311 and ask for NYC Build it Back or going to www.nyc.gov/builditback.
About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City:
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovative public-private partnerships. One hundred percent of donations in response to Hurricane Sandy are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, contributions helped to support the supply and transport of emergency needs including hot food, toiletries, baby supplies, cleaning materials, warm clothing and medications for New Yorkers. The Mayor’s Fund is now focused on longer-term rebuilding and restoration efforts, including sponsoring a network of housing counselors and legal service providers to help residents, mold awareness and treatment, and loans and grants for affected nonprofit organizations and local businesses. For more information go to www.nyc.gov/fund and follow the Fund on Twitter @NYCMayorsFund.
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help community-based organizations revitalize underserved neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $7.2 billion to build or rehabilitate more than 196,000 affordable homes and develop 27 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC’s Boston office, opened in 1981, has invested more than $153 million to help local community groups build 7,000 homes and apartments and 1.3 million square feet of commercial space.