More help for LI in Sandy's aftermath
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An international relief organization, tapped by a local network of volunteer, nonprofit and governmental groups focused on disaster recovery, will be on Long Island starting Monday to assess the unmet needs of people still struggling with the aftereffects of superstorm Sandy.
World Renew is a Michigan-based disaster relief agency whose trained volunteers are known as "Green Shirts" for their attire. They will be setting up shop in Freeport and Mastic Beach over the next two weeks.
The organization is coming to the Island at the invitation of the Long Term Recovery Group of Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, said Lori Andrade, chief operating officer of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, one of 100 governmental, volunteer and nonprofit groups involved in disaster relief efforts.
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"World Renew comes in with their own resources that they've raised," Andrade said. "They're bringing in 10 teams of two people each. They come in as volunteers, really very professional volunteers, and provide needs assessment to help the Long Term Recovery Group triage who's most in need."
The Long Term Recovery Group then will attempt to help the individuals who are identified, by connecting them to the assistance they need.
Andrade said her group had called on World Renew last fall -- just a few weeks before Sandy hit -- to help assess unmet needs of people victimized by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. They asked World Renew to return to do the same for Sandy victims, she said.
"World Renew is providing a great resource. They enter all the data from their interviews, then generate a report for us and prioritize the highest needs, such as housing, physical health issues," Andrade said. "We're able to use that report and contact people with the greatest needs."
In addition to the World Renew teams, Andrade said, disaster case managers from local nonprofit agencies in the Long Term Recovery Group will be available in Freeport and Mastic Beach "in case there is an immediate need that has to be addressed."
The nonprofit disaster case managers are financed through New York State's $38.5-million federally funded Disaster Case Management program, described as a public-private partnership.
The Catholic Archdiocese of New York administers the program and works with community-based nonprofits.
World Renew's needs assessment teams will be available at walk-in centers in Freeport and Mastic Beach on the following days.
Freeport -- Tomorrow through Friday at Freeport Recreation Center, 130 E. Merrick Rd., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mastic Beach -- April 27 at Jubilee Recovery Center, 250 Neighborhood Rd., and Episcopal Community Services, 218 Neighborhood Rd., from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and April 29 through May 2 at the same two locations, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Andrade said Long Islanders from any community are welcome to drop by the centers to seek assistance.