Volunteer Groups Help Brooklyn Families Rebuild, One House at a Time

Groups Repair Sandy Damaged Houses & Get Local Residents Home

Nearly two years after Sandy struck New York City many families are still waiting to recover, but some have gotten back into their houses with the help of volunteer groups repairing homes in Brooklyn. These groups organize local and out of state volunteers and supplies to repair homes with moderate needs to get the house finished and families back home.

On 86th St in Canarsie, volunteer rebuilding groups helped one homeowner save her home. Over the year and a half since Sandy hit, she had been struggling with her mortgage because she, like many homeowners in the flood zone, depended on the rental income to get by. She had paid a contractor to repair the space but due to shoddy work, the rental was still not usable. The case was presented on June 26 and the client’s window of completion was limited – the space had to be rentable by mid-August. UMCOR had finished all of the work by July 26.

“If teams of volunteers can come in and provide free labor to complete non-structural home repairs, then it stretches what money home and business owners have or are going to get to be able to pay skilled labor to take care of those tasks volunteers are not able to perform,” said Pastor Brian Steadman, Director of Resurrection Brooklyn Relief.

“As resources begin to dwindle as we approach the two year anniversary, collaboration among rebuild groups is key to making sure the hundreds, if not thousands, of our neighbors still struggling to recover post-Sandy get the help they need.”

Many of these rebuild organizations started working on homes in Brooklyn immediately after Sandy doing removing debris, treating mold, and helping with demolition and emergency repairs. So far this year volunteer rebuild groups that are part of the Brooklyn Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) have completed eight repair projects with another eight in progress.

“As many National VOAD groups wrap up their efforts in NYC and move on to other places in the country, the rebuild groups still on the ground in Brooklyn need volunteers now more than ever. Volunteers both locally and nationally must understand we still have a long way to go to recover in Brooklyn. We need teams to come and work with us in Brooklyn, if just for a day but ideally for a week at a time.”

Within the Brooklyn Long Term Recovery Group the Construction, Volunteers, and Donations Committee, an assembly of volunteer rebuild groups in Brooklyn, meets regularly to hear cases from Disaster Case Managers representing families who need help rebuilding. Together, they assess the cases and determine who can take which rebuild project. These groups include Resurrection Brooklyn Relief, New York Annual Conference, Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation, Red Hook Volunteers, Habitat for Humanity.

Brooklyn families have been able to get rebuild assistance from volunteer organizations by working with their Disaster Case Manager to access the program.  Families in need to rebuild help or other kinds of assistance should contact their Disaster Case Manager, or be connected to a Disaster Case Manager by calling the intake line at 855-258-0483.

More information about Brooklyn recovery and the Brooklyn Long Term Recovery Group can be found online at BrooklynRecovers.org on twitter at @BrooklynLTRGrp or on Facebook at facebook.com/BrooklynLongTermRecoveryGroup

The Brooklyn Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is helping build community-based recovery as a forum for communication, collaboration, and advocacy for community-based organizations, service providers, and disaster relief groups serving Hurricane Sandy impacted families in Brooklyn’s coastal communities.

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