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Press Release

One Year After Superstorm Sandy, New Survey Of Human Services Organizations Reveals Ongoing Challenges To Long-Term Recovery And The Need For Improved Disaster Coordination

10/23 Human Services Council Forum to Address Survey Results

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One year after Superstorm Sandy paralyzed New York City and destroyed lives and property, a new survey of more than 100 nonprofit human services organizations, conducted by Baruch College's School of Public Affairs and the Human Services Council of New York (HSC), details serious, ongoing housing and financial challenges as well as a clear need for improved disaster coordination going forward.

"Far From Home: Nonprofits Assess Sandy Recovery and Disaster Preparedness" provides insights into the role of human services organizations in Sandy relief and recovery, the extent of unmet community needs, and strategies to accelerate recovery.

The survey results will be discussed at HSC's forum "Sandy: One Year Later: Assessing Community Recovery and Anticipating Another Disaster" on Wed., Oct. 23, with keynoter NYC Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs and senior-level nonprofit and government leaders, including Robert G. Ottenhoff, President/CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, one of the forum sponsors.

Among the key findings:

  • 58% of organizations said that housing issues have impeded their ability to provide other services.
  • Fewer than 28% feel that the needs of half the people they are serving have been met.
  • A lack of consensus about which government agencies were in charge – FEMA (39.4%) vs. the NYC Mayor's Office (30.8%) – indicates a lack of clarity regarding leadership roles.
  • Over half of the nonprofits reported damage to their facilities or infrastructure, and 60% said they expect only partial or no reimbursement, severely impacting their ability to serve clients.

"Many people are still displaced, suffering, and living in unsafe and unhealthy conditions as a consequence of the storm," said Marla Simpson, Executive Director of Brooklyn Community Services. "Human services organizations are continuing to fill the unmet needs of victims in hard-hit communities."

Of 6,310 cases within the state-wide Disaster Case Management program for Sandy victims, 5,234 remain open, and approximately 23,000 households have registered for Build it Back, the city's housing assistance program for those whose homes were damaged by Sandy.

"People still have no place to live and are in desperate circumstances. Human services organizations whose resources were already stretched as a result of the fiscal crisis laid out funds and resources with no guarantee of reimbursement to provide assistance to the victims," said Michael Stoller, Executive Director of HSC. "We need a coordinated disaster plan, adequate funding, and a better support system in place to ensure that we are ready for future disasters."

"New York City is strong because of the people and organizations that work together in our communities to make us strong," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. "Resilience at the community level requires leveraging this strength, and the work represented at this forum will ensure we do that effectively."

Follow HSC on Twitter: @HSC_NY and look for #Sandy1Year.

Media Contact: Teri Wade, 212-595-4047

SOURCE Human Services Council of New York

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