Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

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

Where can families stay while their homes are rebuilt?

Jul 01, 2014

As I make the rounds to meetings of Long Term Recovery Groups, NYC VOAD, and other gatherings of people working for the recovery of survivors from Sandy I find myself in awe of the dedication of these individuals. It would be so easy to forget those who continue to suffer after more than a year and a half since the storm. I see a great deal of effort made on behalf of the most vulnerable in our communities, even when the challenges appear insurmountable.

 

Just the other day I was speaking with some of our LDRNY case management team about difficulties faced by their clients. One in particular stands out to me because I have heard it several times: where can families stay while their homes are rebuilt?

 

Early after the storm the government, American Red Cross and others made funds available for temporary shelter for those whose homes were made unlivable by flooding or wind damage. The last of those programs has wound down leaving many whose homes have not yet been repaired to wonder where they can go now. In addition, thousands who live in homes in need of major repair and are eligible for government funded assistance through New York Rising or New York City’s Build it Back are faced with the dilemma of needing to find temporary housing while those programs’ contractors do their work.

 

Neither New York Rising nor Build it Back – both funded with federal dollars through HUD – provides for rental assistance for these residents. Instead, they must bear the burden of rent often along with keeping up their mortgage and insurance payments on the home under repair.

 

Adding to the problem is the extraordinarily low vacancy rate across our area – Nassau and Suffolk counties have a 1% vacancy rate. For those seeking short-term housing (our clients having their homes rebuilt), this rate may be even lower because rental property owners would rather engage long-term tenants.

 

While this remains of great concern, many are working and advocating with the government agencies to find a solution. Our neighbors deserve all the care we can give them in their hour of need.