Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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October 2014 Archive for Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

Disaster relief coordinator Pastor Craig Miller shares disaster relief information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

"I see how truly amazing God is in all of this."

Oct 23, 2014

"The volunteers are here and they are doing a wonderful job; Joe and I could not be more pleased. We know that this would not have been possible without yours and the "Lutheran Services" help. When I think back to how thirty-two years ago, a Lutheran pastor performed our marriage ceremony and helped in putting us together. Now, the same faith-based people have helped to put our home back together. I see how truly amazing God is in all of this. He led us to sign up with you, as it was his will, then he allowed you to give us this help. It is all, surely, his workings. We have really experienced true Christian charity. Now, I have an even greater hope than ever before because I know that you will all continue to serve. Many thanks for your help and your kind support."


After Hurricane Sandy flooding caused the sewer to back up into their ground floor, the Smiths (not their real name), a retired couple, received some monies from FEMA, which was used to gut the basement, remediate the mold, replace the hot water heater and other appliances. Rapid Repairs replaced their furnace and redid the electrical, but installed the incorrect outlets, resulting in a citation from the Department of Buildings. With this violation, the Smiths were unable to proceed with repairs to their home.


A Disaster Case Manager from LSSNY helped the Smiths to reach out to their local City Council representative, who worked to remove the violation. Estimated costs for the home repairs came out to over $11,000, more than the Smiths could afford, so LSSNY arranged for their Construction Manager to look over the project, in order to determine the scope of work and supply needs. The Case Manager arranged for Red Hook Volunteers, a group organized after Hurricane Sandy to help neighbors recover, to restore the sheetrock and insulation to the home. Supplies were provided by LSSNY through a special Home Depot portal at the New York City Unmet Needs Roundtable convened by New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS).


LSSNY provides Disaster Case Management and Construction Management as part of the New York State Disaster Sandy Case Management Program administered by Catholic Charities. As the Metropolitan New York affiliate of Lutheran Disaster Response, LSSNY has received funding for this program from LDR that enables them to expand their services.


Project LIFE: Getting people back on their feet

Oct 16, 2014

I’ve written before about Project LIFE, Lutheran Social Services Disaster Case Management, as an important part of our response to Hurricane Sandy. Two years after the storm, they continue to work with clients in storm impacted areas, helping them to get back on their feet and establish a resiliency they did not know they had. Let me share a couple stories:


One client in Far Rockaway lived with her two sons in NYCHA housing. The city’s housing projects in shorefront communities, we have learned, had almost no protection against the storm surge. These buildings have been poorly maintained in the past and Sandy made things worse. This client lived on the seventh floor of the building and, thus, was above the flood level. However, the building lost power and heat for more than a month. She and her two sons had to leave the apartment and stay at her mother’s home in Brooklyn where they slept on the floor.


NYCHA finally provided a new apartment five months later but first required a new security deposit. In addition, this family had to replace furniture and other belongings that were destroyed by mold that had infested their original apartment. In order to pay all her expenses this client took a loan from her 401(k) and ran up charges on credit cards even as she fell further behind on her rent. With money from Project LIFE, this family was helped to pay back rent and alleviate credit card debt. The threat of eviction that had been hanging over them was removed and they have begun to move forward.


A second client who lost his apartment to flood damage was forced to move several times between relatives, friends, and a WIN shelter. This man did not have the funds to cover a new rental startup and purchase replacement furniture. His income barely covered his day to day costs. Project LIFE provided funds to cover his security deposit and first-month rent, as well as replace some basic furniture. This client has returned to self-sufficiency.


Project LIFE is funded in part by a grant from Lutheran Disaster Response.


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