In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, scores of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents found they were unable to return to their homes in NYCHA properties due to the severity of storm damage to their apartments. NYCHA quickly went to work finding vacant apartments in its properties throughout the City, but many families had lost everything – furniture, clothing, household goods – and faced moving into empty apartments.
NYCHA has been an essential collaborator in our Brownsville Partnership, and when Sandy affected NYCHA housing developments throughout the City, Community Solutions offered our help to NYCHA colleagues. We assisted in checking in on tenants in developments left without power after the storm, and NYCHA turned to us to help them help the displaced families.
“The most important thing we can do for residents affected by Hurricane Sandy is show them that we care and are ready to help in any way we can,” said Nora Reissig, Director of NYCHA’s Family Services Department. “By working with partners such as Community Solutions, we are providing relief to residents who lost all or most of their belongings to enable them to rebuild their lives and have a place they can call home again.”
Enter the Robin Hood Foundation. The Foundation made an initial $25,000 grant to Community Solutions that enabled us to replace families’ furniture and essential household supplies. Robin Hood then increased their grant by another $30,000. Working with IKEA Red Hook and Bob’s Furniture of Harlem, we were able to resettle a total of 82 families. Our partner, Cisco Systems, also stepped in, donating toiletry packages for the families.
“We are enormously grateful to the Robin Hood Foundation for their quick and generous response, which allowed us to meet the needs of these families and assist our partners at NYCHA,” said Rosanne Haggerty, Community Solutions’ president. “This is the kind of collaboration that solves problems at times of clear crisis, as in the aftermath of a major storm, and makes communities more effective in solving problems every day."