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Red Cross Awards Nearly $1 Million in Sandy Recovery Grants for Queens

Red Cross disaster response and preparedness
The Red Cross work in Rockaway both right after Sandy and in preparing for future storms and emergencies is to be commended.

The American Red Cross has awarded nearly $1 million in grants to Margert Community Corporation, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund and Rockaway Youth Task Force to support long-term recovery services for people affected by Superstorm Sandy in Queens.

Margert Community Corporation will receive a $700,000 grant, and will use the funding to provide home repairs for 105 households which were affected by Sandy; another 600 households will receive housing counseling.

"Margert was approaching its own ‘fiscal cliff' on September 30th with the expiration of state and foundation-funded Sandy recovery programs,” said Joseph G. Barden, executive director, Margert Community Corporation. “This grant from the Red Cross has allowed us to continue to provide direct emergency long-term recovery and resiliency housing rehabilitation - especially health and safety measures such as mold remediation - to assist homeowners with individual gap grant awards, and assist displaced tenants and special needs households.”

In addition to Margert Community Corporation, the Red Cross has awarded $178,808 grant to the Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund. The group will use the funding to provide home repair for 26 Sandy-affected households in Breezy Point. “The grant we are receiving from the Red Cross will be used to complete repairs for many of our most vulnerable residents and will hasten their return,” said Steve Greenberg, chairman of the board, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund.

Additionally, the Rockaway Youth Taskforce will receive a $50,000 grant, and will use the funds to train 50 peer leaders and mobilize 500 volunteers to help repair Sandy-affected homes in the Rockaways. The group will do so by organizing 24 volunteer rebuild days over the course of a year. The organization will also receive 100 Red Cross “Go Bags,” emergency kits that will be distributed as part of its preparedness training presentations throughout the Rockaway Peninsula over the coming year.

“The Rockaway Youth Task Force is excited to partner with the Red Cross in the rebuilding of the Rockaway Peninsula,” said Milan Taylor, president, Rockaway Youth Task Force. “The youth are a very vulnerable population and it's imperative that they're included in the strengthening of our community throughout the rebuilding process.”

Josh Lockwood, CEO, Red Cross Greater New York Region, said: “I am proud that generous donations to the Red Cross for Sandy enable us to support the work of Margert Community Corporation, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund and Rockaway Youth Task Force to help Sandy survivors in Queens recover and rebuild.

Local elected officials were also pleased about the three community-based organizations’ collaboration with the Red Cross.

U.S. Rep. Congressman Gregory Meeks said: “Superstorm Sandy shocked the Rockaway Peninsula a year ago. The storm caused unimaginable damage and devastation to many of the area residents' homes, local businesses and the transportation system. Many people were forced to flee from their homes and the area without vital items they needed with them. I am delighted that the Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund, Margert Community Corporation and Rockaway Youth Task Force, in partnership with the American Red Cross will provide residents in the area with Housing Counseling, Home Repair Service and Go Bags that will bring invaluable piece of mind to those who have suffered the most.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., said: "In continuing its long tradition of assisting those in need, I appreciate the efforts of the Red Cross throughout my district, in being an important part of my constituents’ recovery after Superstorm Sandy. The Red Cross work in Rockaway both right after Sandy and in preparing for future storms and emergencies is to be commended."

State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said: “It is a year after Sandy and many of our families and community organizations are still struggling to survive. This new funding is only the beginning, and will go a long way to help our local neighborhoods continue their great work assisting our families toward recovery. I commend the American Red Cross for all they have done after Sandy and for putting our families first.”

New York City Council Member Donovan Richards Jr., said: "I am excited to see the Red Cross continue their support of community organizations such as Margert Community Corporation and the Rockaway Youth Taskforce, who were at the forefront of recovery efforts on the Rockaway Peninsula. Homeowners still face an enormous challenge in the community and they will benefit significantly from the services of both organizations. I thank the Red Cross once again for stepping up for the people of the Rockaways."

Superstorm Sandy is the largest U.S. operation by the Red Cross in more than five years, and thanks to the public’s generous support, the Red Cross has received $308 million in donations for Sandy emergency relief and recovery efforts. As of September 30, the Red Cross has spent or committed $280 million – more than 90 percent of the donated funds.

The Red Cross has partnered with and funded numerous community-based organizations to support the recovery of individuals and families in Queens who were affected by Sandy. These partners include Food Bank For New York City, Friends of Rockaway, Jewish Community Council of Rockaway Peninsula, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Baptist Convention USA, National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters, New York Disaster Interfaith Services, Operation Hope, Points of Light Foundation and Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Sandy recovery efforts focus on the areas of housing assistance, case management, mental health services, volunteer coordination, and food security. Additional community grants will be announced in the weeks ahead.

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 at @RedCrossNY.

About Margert Community Corporation:

Margert Community Corporation is a New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Neighborhood Preservation Company, a Weatherization Assistance Program sub grantee, and a HUD approved housing counseling agency, providing comprehensive assistance to persons who want to rent, buy or already own a home, and who seek to be responsible renters, buyers and owners. Margert is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that has been providing neighborhood preservation services, energy affordability, housing assistance, and housing counseling to low-income tenants and homeowners, the elderly, and persons with disabilities since 1980.

About the Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund:

The Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund is a 501c3 charity established by six community members in November of 2012 after our community was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The goal of our fund has been from the start, to help the residents of our community rebuild and return to their homes.

About Rockaway Youth Task Force:

The Rockaway Youth Task Force is a community-based organization composed entirely of youth ages 15-29. Our mission is to empower youth in our local communities through civic engagement & volunteer opportunities. We seek to spark social change in the Rockaways through youth leadership and provide opportunities for teenagers and young adults to become productive citizens of the Rockaways. We seek to educate ourselves and our peers through our four pillars: personal advancement, mentoring, volunteer work, and political and civic engagement.