Staten Island Clergy Leadership Meeting Minutes January 9th, 2013
Housing needs form: people are not accessing as much FEMA aid as they are eligible for.
New Resource: 718-442-8080, 770 Castleton Ave. Two loan products and a grant of up to $10,000 Money from AHC (affordable housing corp).
Church of the 200 Bostcomb ave. individuals mon, tues, thurs, sat 10-5 718-966-4500 Place to pick up supplies.
Annie Landers relief center has a new address. Giving out supplies, canned food, sleeping bags.
Dennis McKeon knows a man willing to make and donate furniture for people.
Make the Road legal services – have hired a bi-lingual disaster relief attorney. At 1128 Olympia. She’s there mon-thurs, in port Richmond on fri. 718-727-1222 is the central port Richmond office number.
Debbie Rose’s office announcement: National Grid is making available a $6,000 grant program to households who have sustained a minimum of $3000 of expenses in gas heating.
New housing resource: Contact Eric Feldman 718-477-6803 sisters of charity
Deadline for Markum applications is the end of the month and are available online.
Dennis McKeon has school contacts and can provide lots of volunteers for orgs/events that need them.
Siller Foundation will have a press conference to announce how they will pass out home depot cards – to green, yellow, red marked homeowners. Need to prove homeownership and have FEMA ID.
Lynette, Brighton Heights, clothing distribution. Could use volunteers! Over president’s day weekend on the Saturday and Monday. Will need volunteers to set up on Friday and to help with the distribution on Saturday and Monday.
There’s a real need for clothing and we need to find a way to make it accessible. 300 people went to a clothing distribution at St. Margaret Mary’s recently. We need to identify the communities that need this service. When clothes are well-sorted, people come to them, they don’t want to be handed a bag!
Clothing committee: Church of the Gateway and Moravian church. Lynette the chair.
**Dennis McKeon will reach out to Salvation Army to figure out how to get vouchers.
We need a place that will distribute clothing on a regular basis that we can advertise to the people who need it. Maybe Maliotakis’s office on Midland Ave? Ilya: distributions of new clothing that are well organized by the press are well attended.
St. Charles told Moravian church that people in that community don’t need clothes and people on Oakwood beach won’t take them. So let’s work something out on Midland beach.
New Dorp Moravian has a handicapped accessible space that may be able to be used for distribution.
There is a Salvation Army thrift store on clove road.
Where to Turn is collecting used prom dresses, dry cleaning them, and making them available to girls who can’t afford a prom dress – will also have free hairstylists and accessories. 150 Daschelle Greeves lane – dresses can be dropped off here.
Catholic Charities is the state designated case management service. As of this week, 120 anderson ave 9-5 mon-fri is where c.c. case management can be found as well as restoration center.
This sat and sun they will be there from noon to 4 along with make the road legal clinics at 1128 Olympia.
Several Project Hope services going – PH services available 7 days a week, can do support groups and one on one visits and then refer.
Next Wed. the city council will hold a hearing on the city’s response to Sandy. Anyone can sign up to speak with copies of what they will say.
**we will email the phone number out. At city council chamber at city hall.
Ira and Joyce Goldstein on Trauma Counseling
EMTR Only three people in island who are certified. Bringing 7 therapists to SI to work with Sandy victims. Their impression is that a lot of people aren’t coming out of their houses. SI community health action will hand out flyers advertising services – they could use help distributing flyers. Just got a call that 8 more therapists will be on SI on weekends for the next 3 months. In need of 7 office spaces. – will coordinate with occupy sandy, csi, and local churches for space. ** Gretchen, Nelly, and Ilya will help FDNY find space for counselors.
Justin Bowen, FEMA Coordinator Long Term Recovery Services
Called voluntary agency liasons. January 28th is the FEMA registration deadline. Supports communities by providing information, access to other funds, doing on the ground door-knocking, provide trainings – trying to pool organizations – the more groups come together to work as one the more effective they are. Planning a Jan 22nd meeting to bring everyone to one table. National VOAD (volunteer organizations after disaster) talks about by-laws and procedures for subcommittees following a national disaster – can find it at info.org.
FEMA suggests that SI have a coalition with a board of directors to access federal grant money.
If you know firefighter families willing to take in firefighter volunteers for a weekend, please let FDNY know.
FEMA: operating in our own circles to handle case management/ unmet needs. The more we can pool together, the more effective we will be – to stop double dipping and to stop people from falling through the cracks – so the more centralized our efforts, the better. – Everyone is invited to Jan 22nd meeting about creating a LTRG for SI. Suggestion is that we use a Wed noon meeting to do this – on Wed the 23rd. People who can’t make a daytime meeting should send a rep. This meeting will formalize our coalition as the LTRG with a board of directors so we can access funding.
Needs assessment/website update
Daniel Coates from Make the Road New York
The needs we are seeing are outpassing even the collective strength that we have to fill.
Make the Road has a history of community organizing and legal services among immigrant populations. Put together a survey lifting up the experience of immigrants in Sandy. Have a city-funded team of organizers to do community organizers with people in their first languages – also want to do a survey. Looking at what a just and fair recovery looks like for everyone.
Need the city, state, and federal government to focus on immediate needs – supplies, mold remediation, temporary housing etc. We need to use federal money for equitable investments – with transparency and accountability in the process. People who have been impacted should be at the table and participating in policy-making for their neighborhoods. We should be thinking about long-term sustainability, not putting people back into situations where they will be at risk. We have a small window to say what we need/want to our elected officials with regard to the Sandy budget. Going forward, we should make sure homeowners on the beaches are at the table. Instead of thinking in terms of structure – what kind of group we are – we should come to a shared understanding of process and what we want to ask for.
– In developing countries, disasters are often followed by an epidemic. We should focus on immunizations.
Our website will list where to get free medications – given by New York Nurses Association. Need to know where the health vans are and when. Pat Kane the head of the medical committee.
Coates: We should determine what the straightforward needs are about – ex. Mold. We could make one big forum to ‘fix these needs now’ and invite the mayor. Our assessment will indicate what services are most needed in the community. The empowerment of those neighborhoods might include creating neighborhood meetings – with people who can share skills and create a plan for the rebuilding of Midland, then Oakwood, etc. Hubs like Midland Alliance can step forward, bring community leaders together, and create unity.
Problem: People don’t have any answers.
We could arrange a private meeting without press with the folks who can make decisions about what homes can and cannot be rebuilt. We need these answers now – should we be doing mold remediation if these homes won’t be able to be rebuilt at all?
Bob Criselli: Has been doing crisis counseling and case management, sitting in on building department meetings. People with red tagged houses are responsible for any injuries on their property. People aren’t coming forward to use government services – we absolutely need to do political advocacy to extend deadlines for government services for rebuilding homes. Program for FEMA to cover demolition costs must be extended.
If we’re not able to move the FEMA date, once people have opened a case can they go back and appeal within two days of their letter.
To extend FEMA deadline until March 31st we would have to immediately contact the mayor and governor. We can ask for 90 – then maybe get 60 or 30.
Also, how do we disseminate info on the ground? Hence the need for outreach workers, website, and local press.
When people sign onto the letter, we should also provide instructions for information dispersal.
**120 day FEMA extension ask.
Is SI clergy leadership steering committee ok with having a vote to make an appeal to FEMA? Yes.
The SI Interfaith Disaster Network votes to make this request.
City program: Red-tag demolition program. Deadline was Jan 7th. Sponsored by DOB.
**Writing to DOB to ask for a 120 day extension for the red-tag demolition program. Vote: Yes.
Need to understand re-building requirements. We can invite city-officials to a closed door meeting to ask about rebuilding requisites going forward, particularly with regard to eminent domain and zoning.
What else: urgent action taken on mold, affordable housing, etc.
We should frame our requests in terms of ‘Wanting to Know the Truth.’
No one’s home will be demolished without their knowledge unless it poses an immediate hazard.
Shall we invite someone to our next meeting to answer these questions?
Next meeting: our letter to elected officials for affordable housing will be on the docket.
On January 12th, FEMA will no longer pay for people to stay in hotels. There will be a mass exodus in three days. If building is frozen because regulations aren’t out, where will people in these hotels go to? **We should also request an extension of FEMA funding for hotels.
City council hearing is next Wed. Should our coalition meet a different day?
We should write a blurb on each of the five asks and send out.
How can we meet prior to next Wed to be at the city council hearing.
Let’s meet 2:00 Tues on the 15th for our regular weekly meeting. Then, those who want to can go to the city council hearing. Then back to wed on the 23rd to talk about forming according to the national Voad recommendations.
In the meantime, we’ll work on a meeting with Christine Quinn and sending out our extension requests to elected officials.
Extending Housing Funding
Requesting a 120 extension on FEMA applications, 120 on FEMA hotels, 120 on demolition program sponsored by DOB.
Coalition votes for 120 day extension on Rapid Repair.
Committee for drawing up a statement to the city council. Will work through email: Melodee, Christopher, and Thomas from Midland Alliance.
Tues-Sat 10-2 giving out supplies to individuals and families 900 Richmond Rd. Drive-in supply store.
Closing Prayer By Msgr. Dorney.
Live Stream of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address