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NYCHA, Red Cross Team Up to Prepare Residents for Disasters

NYCHA, Red Cross Team Up to Prepare Residents for Disasters.
"A primary focus of our emergency preparedness efforts is providing the right tools for our residents."

More Than 1,000 Public Housing Residents Across NYC Gain Free Access To Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Training

In their ongoing efforts to step-up disaster preparedness, the New York City Housing Authority and the Greater NY Red Cross have partnered to train more than 1,000 residents of public housing across New York City, free of charge.

The Red Cross emergency preparedness training for NYCHA residents marks a first of its kind partnership for NYCHA and the largest between the renowned disaster relief organization and a public housing authority. The new alliance aims to help residents prepare for an emergency, as well as encourage longer term volunteerism for disaster relief efforts.

“We are determined to be ready for the next Sandy-like event or any disaster, and training is essential to NYCHA being properly prepared. Who better than the Red Cross to help us achieve that vital goal,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO, Shola Olatoye. “Public Housing residents will benefit from the Red Cross’ knowledge, experience and vision.”

“By partnering with NYCHA, the largest public housing authority in the US, we will be able to empower more New Yorkers with the necessary skills and resources to minimize the effects of local emergencies,” said Josh Lockwood, CEO, American Red Cross Greater NY region. “Thank you to NYCHA for their commitment in getting more New Yorkers prepared for the unexpected.”

To kick off the partnership, the Red Cross will be training residents in NYCHA’s Resident Watch Program, a volunteer program throughout the city in which residents look out for the safety of their neighbors in apartments and buildings nearby. Participants will learn the first steps to take in an emergency; how to reunite with family and friends during a disaster; proper supplies to stock up on; and the right factors to consider when deciding whether to shelter-in-place or to evacuate. For more information, go to

After the initial goal of working with 1,000 trainees in Resident Watch, the NYCHA/Red Cross partnership plans to expand across the Authority so thousands more residents can be trained. As part of this expanded outreach, the two organizations will focus their preparedness training efforts on NYCHA developments at the highest risk of being impacted by a disaster like a fire or a flood.

Through the partnership, NYCHA also plans to make use of many other of the Red Cross’ preparedness resources. This includes digital readiness guides and infographics as well as preparedness apps for download, such as an app for first aid, hurricanes, floods and more. For more information, go to

“A primary focus of our emergency preparedness efforts is providing the right tools for our residents,” said Sadie Bynum, NYCHA’s first Director of Emergency Preparedness. “We want as many residents as possible to access this new, additional resource.”

“I applaud the Red Cross and NYCHA for joining forces to help prepare some of the city’s most vulnerable residents,” said New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph J. Esposito. “Both agencies are very close partners of OEM and ones we rely on before, during and after emergencies. We look forward to supporting this partnership.”

A key part of the NYCHA/Red Cross partnership is also promoting volunteerism so residents do their part by helping out in any emergency. Melvera Simmons, the Resident Association Secretary at Jackie Robinson Houses in Manhattan, is one NYCHA resident who already been trained as a Red Cross volunteer after Hurricane Sandy hit two years ago: “We know a lot, we live right by the water,” Ms. Simmons said. “Learning how to volunteer is something that would be helpful to residents and the Red Cross, we know the neighborhood.”

For more information on volunteering, go to


The New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. To that end, NYCHA administers a Conventional Public Housing Program as well as a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments, together serving more than 600,000 New Yorkers. NYCHA also works with numerous partners to connect residents to community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives. Learn more at and on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, @NYCHA.

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 or visit us on Twitter, @RedCrossNY.