Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

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

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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