Hurricane Sandy Recovery: Intermediate and Long-Term Relief

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

It has been three weeks since Sandy struck, and the need for support is still great. In previous communications, we’ve highlighted organizations that are responding to some of the immediate needs of shelter and food, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Feeding America. In New York City, the Mayor’s office has launched a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund within the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

Organizations that help organize volunteers and get them to where they are needed most continue to be important to the recovery. Volunteers are vital to checking up on the most vulnerable. In addition to the Red Cross, New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization, has mobilized its teams to help storm victims, particularly the elderly and disabled. Social services organizations may already be equipped to work with families and children. One such organization is Safe Space, which is working in a heavily impacted area of New York City, Far Rockaway.

While there is still need for immediate emergency relief, the focus is beginning to shift toward intermediate and longer-term needs for recovery, areas where philanthropic support can play a huge role.

Housing has clearly been one such challenge, as tens of thousands have been displaced – many permanently – from their homes. Public and private entities are working together to develop solutions for those affected. In New York, for example, the Empire State Relief Fund has been established to support the rebuilding and repair of homes.
New Jersey was greatly affected by the storm, and the New Jersey Recovery Fund, a collaboration of public and private organizations, seeks to address intermediate and long-term impacts of the disaster, serving as a flexible source of financial support to local organizations and communities over the coming months and years of recovery. The Brooklyn Recovery Fund is doing similar work in the hard-hit neighborhoods of Coastal Brooklyn, supporting community-wide coordination as well as focused rebuilding and service provision efforts. The Fairfield County Community Foundation, a prominent community foundation in Connecticut, has also been collecting resources on ways to help the communities impacted by the storm in that state.

The storm adversely affected organizations and institutions across the region. Many arts organizations, for example, lost facilities, revenue, and sometimes irreplaceable works, collections and archives. Blood drive efforts were dramatically curtailed because of the storm. Parks and public spaces require clean-up and replanting of trees. Funders have an opportunity to make a significant impact in helping across a wide variety of areas.