In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, Project Hospitality began providing emergency food for hundreds of additional Staten Islanders who were affected by the storm every day. We also responded in the following ways:
• Extended resources and dedicated staff in an extraordinary way given the conditions in which Staten Island was left by Hurricane Sandy.
• Expanded infrastructure to properly respond to the needs of our fellow Staten Islanders.
• Used its fleet of trucks and staff, including our Mobile Food Pantry, to distribute non-perishable food, blankets, personal hygiene products, and other essentials throughout Staten Island.
• Distributed gift cards, coordinated clothing drives, a free store, FEMA, Project Hope Mental Health services, and free bilingual legal services out of the disaster areas during the weekend.
• Following the hurricane, the City of New York’s Department of Homeless Services established two Evacuation Centers on Staten Island at the former Bayley Seton Hospital and the Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat Center. The Department of Homeless Services requested that Project Hospitality manage both Centers.
One Year Later:
• Under the facilitation of our Executive Director and president of the Staten Island Community & Long Term Recovery Organization (LTRO) Reverend Terry Troia, we continue to organize weekly borough-wide meetings which have consistently engaged approximately 100 Staten Island residents and workers, representing 85 CBO’s, national and international disaster relief agencies, FEMA, city, state and government agencies, Occupy Sandy, and residents that experienced devastating loss to dialogue, share resources/information, and organize services to those who have been effected.
• Superstorm Sandy has created its own economic class of people. Every day middle income families come forward needing our services because they cannot afford their current rent, utilities, and living expenses, while rebuilding and restoring the lives they once had.
• Those who are struggling to rebuild are grappling with the complicated issues of non-responsive insurance companies, recouping money from predatory contractors and uncertainties of the FEMA aid process.
• The significant affordable housing crisis created by this disaster and the lack of information on the city’s new zoning and building codes, have led to a stand-still in re-location and re-building for the majority of Sandy affected households on Staten Island.
• There are long term issues for care and supportive housing among the many seniors, immigrants and low income workers and disabled persons affected by Sandy.
• The work of Sandy, beyond immediate needs of food, shelter and supplies has just begun. In short, it will be a long time before people are made whole.
Please check back often for the latest information and updates.