The work of the American Red Cross continues to give help and hope to people affected by Superstorm Sandy in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The Red Cross is working with local long-term Sandy recovery groups and partner agencies across the three states to help people impacted by the storm, work that is ongoing 18 months after landfall.
For example, the Red Cross recently awarded more than $1.9 million in grants to Connecticut groups, with the largest being $1.05 million to CT Rises, the statewide Long Term Recovery Group formed in response to Sandy. Additional Red Cross grants were awarded to groups in Milford, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Fairfield.
These Connecticut groups will use the Red Cross funding, made possible by generous donations following Sandy’s landfall, to address unmet needs of residents affected by Sandy such as repair or replacement of housing stock; modifications of homes to meet new building codes or mitigation requirements, such as home elevation; temporary housing costs; appliance and furniture replacement; and other needs identified through review with caseworkers.
“There are many people in communities across Connecticut who still suffer from effects of Superstorm Sandy,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “Working with Connecticut Rises and other community partners, the Red Cross will be able to continue to support families as they work to recover in Sandy’s wake.”
Earlier this month in New Jersey, the Red Cross awarded a $600,000 grant to the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey for Sandy recovery work in Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden Counties. That grant will be used to provide direct financial assistance to families and individuals for basic household goods and appliances, furniture, temporary housing and home repairs.
“As the Red Cross Sandy recovery work in New Jersey progresses, we are able to identify the evolving needs of our residents and communities,” said Nancy Orlando, regional CEO, American Red Cross South Jersey Region. “This grant will allow the residents of Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden Counties, who have not had access to state and federal funding resources, to feel a sense of hope and finally reach resolution.”
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 $311 million in donations for Sandy emergency relief and recovery efforts. As of May 31, the Red Cross has spent or committed $301 million-nearly 97 percent of the donated funds.
The work of the Red Cross and partners that it supports with grants is seen in the recovery of people such as Ray and Virginia Setti, who recently moved back into their renovated home in Staten Island, New York. The couple’s home was devastated by Sandy as more than eight feet of water rushed inside.
The completion of the Setti home is an example of how the Red Cross is continuing to help people affected by Sandy through its grant partners, including Tunnel to Towers and Mennonite Disaster Service. With Red Cross funding, Tunnel to Towers was able to provide electrical and plumbing work to the home. Volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Service, who are being housed with funding from the Red Cross, then came in to finish framing, drywall, flooring and painting. In August 2013, the Red Cross awarded an $800,000 grant to Mennonite Disaster Service to support the purchase of building materials and supplies for use by volunteers rebuilding homes in the Rockaways, Staten Island, and Somerset County Maryland. The grant also provides housing, food, transportation, tools and equipment for the volunteers.
The Setti family was also helped through the Red Cross Move-In Assistance Program, which provided new furniture, appliances, and rental assistance for an apartment where they lived as their home was being repaired.
In Woodbridge, New Jersey, Sandy’s flood waters tore through the Battista family home, taking out the furnace, electrical panel, wiring, ductwork, pipes and the foundation. The family of four was forced to move into a borrowed camping trailer on their front lawn while they figured out what to do next.
Red Cross caseworker David Huang stepped in to help the Battistas create a recovery plan and worked with them to secure the financial assistance they needed to rebuild their home. With David’s help, they received funding from other non-profits, including the Middlesex County Long Term Recovery Group, a community roundtable set up with Red Cross funds to provide financial assistance to local residents. The family also qualified for the Red Cross Move-In Assistance Program, which replaced the ductwork enabling them to heat their home.
As a result of the work and funding of the Red Cross, the Battista family received the support they needed to get their home back to where it had been prior to Sandy.
“We are so thankful to the Red Cross and to David,” Cheryl Battista said. “He is our saving grace and we could never have come this far without him.”