Red Cross awards $2.35 million for Sandy relief

John Miller, CEO of the American Red Cross

John Miller, CEO of the American Red Cross on Long Island, speaks during a press conference to announce new programs for Sandy victims and to give an update on current programs held in front of the home of Susan Gorman on South Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst. (Oct. 29, 2013) (Credit: Steve Pfost)

The American Red Cross on Long Island, in continuing to help victims of superstorm Sandy, Monday announced $2.35 million in grants to two nonprofit agencies for mold remediation, housing assistance and other services.

John Miller, chief executive of the Long Island chapter, announced the grants in front of the Sandy-damaged home of Susan Gorman in Lindenhurst. He said $2 million for mold remediation was awarded to Community Development Corp. of Long Island LLC, a nonprofit subsidiary of CDCLI, a housing agency.

The grant will provide for free mold remediation for an additional 325 people across the Island, said Marianne Garvin, president and chief executive of CDCLI. Even a year after the storm, she noted, many residents don't have the financial resources to rid their flood-damaged homes of mold.


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The agency, through a pilot project financed by a Robin Hood Foundation grant, already has funded mold remediation for Gorman and 74 other homeowners in Freeport and Lindenhurst, Garvin said.

The Red Cross gave United Way of Long Island $350,000 to make sub-grants to community organizations for a variety of services, such as case management, housing assistance, interagency coordination and social service support.

Theresa Regnante, president and chief executive of United Way, urged Sandy victims to call the United Way's hotline at 211 or toll-free at 888-774-7633. The organization's workers will assess callers' needs and make referrals to community resources, she said.

At the joint news conference, representatives of the Long Term Recovery Group, a coalition of 145 nonprofit, volunteer and governmental organizations providing disaster relief services to Sandy victims, made it clear their efforts are continuing.

"While it's been a year, there's a lot more work to be done," said Gwen O'Shea, president and chief executive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, which manages the recovery group. "It is not too late. We are here to help you."

O'Shea said the member agencies are "continuously evolving our services and programs," which include disaster case management -- 5,000 Long Islanders already received such help -- legal assistance, mental health services, home repair and more.

Babylon Supervisor Richard Schaffer and Lindenhurst Deputy Mayor Kevin McCaffrey praised the collaboration among government entities and nonprofits to help residents.

Gorman, 58, a widow whose now-empty split-level house is across the street from a canal, said her home was made uninhabitable by 51/2 feet of Sandy-driven floodwaters. She applied to the state's NY Rising Housing Recovery Program -- seeking to have the state buy her house -- with the help of Isabel Clostre, a disaster case manager for Catholic Charities. Clostre stood next to Gorman Monday outside the gray-shingled house.

"I left a year ago today," Gorman said, recalling her evacuation to her mother's home in Bellmore on the day before the storm hit Long Island. "I thought I would be back in three days, and I've never come back and will probably never come back.

"This is the home I've lived in for 33 years," she said. "My children were raised here. But I've had water in the house since the storm several times. The streets still flood. For me, I can't come back here . . . I just can't do it. My husband died a year before the storm. For me to go through this alone, it's just not easy."

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