New York State Health Foundation

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Hurricane Sandy Recovery

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City on October 29, 2012, no one predicted the severity of its impact. By the time it was over, the storm had become an unprecedented catastrophic event: more than 43 people were killed; tens of thousands were injured, temporarily dislocated, or entirely displaced; and loss and damage to the City was estimated $19 billion.

Recognizing the enormity of the storm’s devastation—and the physical, mental, and financial impact it had on survivors—NYSHealth responded by supporting recovery efforts in two key regions: Staten Island and Long Island.

Taking a long view, NYSHealth awarded a grant to the Staten Island Foundation to bolster its health-related recovery efforts and its ability to leverage funding opportunities for the Staten Island community, which helped to transform the organization into the go-to resource for Hurricane Sandy recovery activities on Staten Island. The Staten Island Foundation contributed to the policy recommendations of the federal Hurricane Sandy Task Force, and with NYSHealth’s $50,000 investment, leveraged a $1 million grant from the American Red Cross.

When the storm came ashore on Staten Island, it caused catastrophic damage on the east and south shores, causing 23 fatalities—more than any other borough. One year after the storm, many State Island residents still faced physical displacement and psychological distress. To respond to the ongoing trauma, NYSHealth awarded Staten Island Mental Health Society a grant to address the psychological needs of Staten Island residents.

NYSHealth also supported the Long Island Community Foundation in its efforts to respond to the emerging health-related needs of post-Sandy Long Island. NYSHealth funds were used to provide outpatient mental health services for survivors, with an emphasis on children and families; health and safety training, as well as legal representation, for low-wage workers engaged in rebuilding work; and efforts to document, track, and evaluate the physical and emotional health of elderly survivors.

Hurricane Sandy confirmed the vulnerability of New York’s waterfront communities and the need for resiliency planning for future severe weather occurrences. With funding from NYSHealth, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance pursued a Hurricane Sandy recovery agenda that emphasizes an environmentally responsible rebuilding strategy.

Learn more about these grantees and their work:

Long Island Community Foundation
The Long Island Sandy Health Initiative

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
The Waterfront Project

Staten Island Foundation
The Staten Island Foundation Nonprofit Recovery Fund

State Island Mental Health Society
SIMHS Sandy Help

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