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NYDIS Promotes Bronx/Manhattan Faith Leader Preparedness Forums

NYDISnetNYDIS is proud to support and recommend the upcoming Citizen Corps borough-based Emergency Preparedness Forums for Faith Leaders. These forums have been organized by the Citizen Corps Council in partnership with the American Red Cross of Greater New York, and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in collaboration with NYDIS and other Citizen Corps members, to promote best practices and to support clergy networking at the neighborhood level in all boroughs. NYDIS board members and staff are among the many subject matter experts on the forum faculty. All of NYDIS's mitigation education and preparedness training resources will be available for free to forum participants.

Upcoming forum schedule:
  • Bronx: March 10, Hostos Community College
  • Manhattan: March 13, American Red Cross in Greater New York
  • Queens: April 7, Queens Museum of Art
  • Staten Island: TBA
To register for free: click here or call 718.422.8904
:: NYDIS and Partners to Complete Emergency Rest Center (ERC) Pilot

In collaboration with Judson Memorial Church (Manhattan), NYU World Faith, and NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), NYDIS has developed a three-hour training pilot for its Emergency Rest Centers (ERC) training curriculum. Volunteers from Judson will participate in the first pilot training on Tuesday, March 11. NYDIS anticipates launching the training city-wide in April.

ERCs are houses of worship who volunteer to self-activate or be activated by NYDIS to serve the public by offering hospitality and safe haven during emergencies. They also can be activated as cooling or heating centers. NYDIS trains houses of worship to meet criteria established in conjunction with NYC OEM. It also provides training and operational guidance for volunteers and volunteer managers from ERC houses of worship. Over 35 houses of worship currently are pre-registered to receive this training. If your house of worship wishes to participate, please contact NYDIS or register in HOWCALM™ (www.howcalm.org) with an indication of your interest.

If you have questions, contact:
Ruth Wenger, Interim Coordinator of Community Outreach and Training
:: NYDIS Assumes Administration of United Chaplains of New York

In February, NYDIS assumed membership administration of United Chaplains of New York (UCNY) in partnership with its Board of Directors. NYDIS will now maintain all membership records and provide other administrative support as needed. Through this effort, NYDIS hopes to enhance the capacity as well as the communication and deployment capabilities of UCNY. UCNY currently has over 600 member chaplains, primarily English and Spanish speaking Evangelical and Pentecostal African American and Hispanic religious leaders who serve congregations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Many UCNY chaplains volunteer in hospitals, police precincts, prisons, and other NYC institutional or congregational settings.

For more information, contact:
Rev. Elvis Santiago, Director of Public Relations, UCNY
Home: 631.499.3875
Cell: 631.889.5461
:: NYDIS Welcomes Chabad Lubavitch Community to Board of Directors

On March 4, the NYDIS Board of Directors welcomed Rabbi Menachem Shagalov of the Chabad Lubavitch community to its Board of Directors. Rabbi Shagalov will serve as an advisory member of the Board and liaison to this Hasidic Jewish community which has its world headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. In February, NYDIS Executive Director Peter Gudaitis was honored to be invited, along with FEMA and OEM staff, to tour the Lubavitcher community including its headquarters, library, schools, and shuls and meet with the community’s Chief Rebbe and several other senior Rabbis.

For more information, visit:
:: NYDIS Receives $1.2 Million in Donations & Grants in February

In the month of February, NYDIS secured over $1.2M in donations and grants in support of our 2008 programs, bringing our total funding for the year to $1.59M. Thank you to the many individuals, corporations, and foundations that have helped us reach this critical milestone toward our $4.3M annual budget. If you, your business, your house of worship, or your foundation would like to make a contribution to support the unmet needs of injured 9/11 recovery workers or to fund the training needs of New York City religious leaders and faith communities, please visit https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=3445.
:: NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Updates
  • NYC 9/11 In-Service Training for Case Workers
    In-Service Training is required for case workers who have never presented a case at the Roundtable, and is recommended as a refresher for experienced case workers who have previously presented cases. All training sessions take place at NYDIS (map).
  • NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Schedule
    The NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable brings together donors and agencies providing case management services to financially assist individuals impacted by 9/11. Case managers who would like to present a case to the Roundtable must sign up for a case review meeting with the Moderator. Case review hours are posted on a bi-weekly basis on 9/11 RWCAN at https://911rwcan.communityos.org/cms/
    • Thursday, March 13 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, March 27 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)

    Contact Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
  • NYC 9/11 Case Management Coordination Meetings
    NYDIS hosts monthly Case Management Coordination meetings for service providers that are assisting 9/11 recovery workers and the general 9/11-affected community. These meetings are open to representatives from any service providers that wish to coordinate and share information about their services and the community's needs.
    • Thursday, March 6 - 10:00-12:00 pm

    To RSVP, contact Lida Mora:
:: NYC 9/11 Recovery Resources

A comprehensive list of news, updates and resources for 9/11 victims and injured recovery workers, updated weekly:
:: Recovery Resources for Other NYC Area Disasters
:: NYC DOHMH Begins Respiratory Health Study of 9/11-Related Illnesses

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has begun a comprehensive study of the respiratory health of people who lived and worked near Ground Zero on and after 9/11. Doctors from Belleview Hospital Center are helping to complete this study which is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s $100M plan to increase New York City’s 9/11 health care capabilities. Participants have been recruited from the WTC Health Registry. The study involves collecting details about these participants’ experiences during 9/11 and completing basic medical tests including a full lung exam. Analysis of the findings may take up to two years to complete.  

Read the February 20 press release:
:: Recovery Workers Rally in D.C. for 9/11 Health Care

On February 26, recovery workers, politicians, and others rallied at the Capitol to speak out against the proposed 77% budget cut for 9/11 health care, the cancellation of plans to create a WTC Business Processing Center, and Congress’s failure to consider the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act. This act would ensure that everyone, including residents of Lower Manhattan, who was exposed to Ground Zero after 9/11 would receive medical monitoring and treatment. After the rally, some of the attendees spoke with members of Congress about this bill. The rally was organized by the FealGood Foundation.

Read the article in the Daily News: click here

Read the event announcement from the FealGood Foundation:
:: Faith-Based and Community Initiative Seven-Year Progress Report Released

In January 2001, President Bush started the Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI) to strengthen the relationship between the Federal government and small faith-based and non-profit organizations who work at the grassroots level. “The Quiet Revolution: The President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative: A Seven-Year Progress Report” explains that, through the Initiative, the government has been more able to meet community needs by distributing money to these smaller organizations that directly serve the people. Without federal funding, these groups would not have the resources to make the high level of impact that they have made since 2001. Examples of the FBCI’s successes include its prisoner reentry program, its mentoring program for children of prisoners, and its programs to reduce homelessness across the nation.

Read the Progress Report:

Read a Fact Sheet about the FBCI:
:: GAO Report on National Disaster Response Released

On February 27, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, “National Disaster Response: FEMA Should Take Action to Improve Capacity and Coordination between Government and Voluntary Sectors.” The report found that FEMA, rather than the Red Cross, should be the primary agency to oversee mass care during disasters because of its resources and its contact with other federal agencies. Mass care services for the disabled particularly need improvement. The report also concludes that FEMA should take a more active role in supporting NVOAD and coordinating between the government and voluntary organizations to improve communication and information sharing during response efforts.

Read the report: click here

From Our Members & Partners

  • NYDIS Salutes LDRNY as it Ends Funding of the NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable

    After distributing more than $1.1M in direct financial assistance, LDRNY announced this month that it will no longer serve as a regular donor at the 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable. In 2002, under the leadership of LDRNY, in partnership with FEMA and UMCOR, the Roundtable was founded as a “last resource” in insuring that 9/11 impacted clients could achieve sustainable recovery. LDRNY Director of Operations Mikki Baloy said, "I am really humbled and gratified to look back on these years of service to an underserved community. So much of what we have tried to do here is to help people as directly as possible. Since 2002, LDRNY has been able to assist more than 600 families and individuals impacted by 9/11, and heard the stories of an even greater number, and it's been both a sobering responsibility and a wonderful privilege."

    The Roundtable has been administered by NYDIS in partnership with an Advisory Committee of donors and social service providers since 2003. To date, the Roundtable has distributed almost $7M to thousands of direct victims and injured recovery workers. The American Red Cross, God’s Love is Needed Now Fund, NYDIS, the Orthodox Church in America, and Safe Horizon will continue to serve as donors through 2008. NYDIS Executive Director Peter Gudaitis stated, “The 9/11 recovery community will remain forever grateful for the leadership and generosity of LDRNY in founding and sustaining the work of the Roundtable for the past six years. None of this work would have been possible without their efforts.”
  • OEM and Mayor Announce Post-Disaster Housing Design Competition Winners

    On February 6, Mayor Bloomberg and OEM Commissioner Bruno announced the winners of the “What If New York City…” Post-Disaster Housing Design Competition. The competition, which began in September 2007, encouraged participants to come up with creative temporary housing solutions for New Yorkers after disasters. The City’s population density and its high concentration of buildings make such housing a challenge. OEM selected 10 winners and 10 honorable mentions from the 117 designs they received from architects, engineers, and students in 30 countries around the world. The winners will work with technical professionals to continue to develop their plans. One or more of the designs may be chosen for construction and integration into the City’s Coastal Storm Plan.

    View the winning designs:

    Read the press release: click here
  • HSC Welcomes New Technology Policy Analyst

    The Human Services Council (HSC) is happy to welcome Michelle Jackson as Technology Policy Analyst. Ms. Jackson will manage HSC’s Technology and Referral Initiative and work with their Technology and Referral Committee to make sure that human service technology initiatives integrate the needs of human services providers into their programs. She also will work with the Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee to improve information sharing capabilities among disaster human services organizations and to support disaster recovery efforts through technology.

    Contact Ms. Jackson:
  • NVOAD Now Accepting New Members

    National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has approved its updated membership criteria and now is taking applications for new members. NVOAD works to coordinate planning and response efforts during and after disasters to increase the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of that response. This kind of collaboration between agencies is becoming increasingly important as the number and scope of disasters continues to rise. Organizations with voluntary membership and financial accountability that provide disaster relief services are welcomed to apply.

    Read the letter from Diana Rothe-Smith, NVOAD Executive Director: click here

    View the Membership Criteria and Application: click here
  • National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) Launches Membership Drive

    NYDISnetThe National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) is pleased to announce that it has been incorporated with the State of New York and now enjoys 501(c)(3) status. NDIN was founded in 2006 by a group of Executive Directors from local, regional, and state disaster interfaith organizations. The network was launched at the 2007 National VOAD Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico last summer. Its mission is to reduce disaster-caused human suffering through the exchange of information and cooperative support across the nation. On February 1st, NDIN released its corporate documents as well as its Program Profile and 2008 Membership Application. Its website, www.n-din.org, will be available in March. All local, regional, and state disaster interfaiths are invited to join.

    To become a member of NDIN, submit the Membership Application: click here

    To view the NDIN Program Overview: click here

    For more information, contact:
    Emily Stoneham, VISTA Member, NDIN


  • NYC OEM Coordinates Advocacy Effort to Amend the Stafford Act

    At the end of February, the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) wrote and distributed letters of support for the recently introduced, human services-related amendments to the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. OEM encouraged other NYC human services organizations to also send these letters to the appropriate U.S. Representatives and Senators to show their support of the amendments. If passed, the bills will increase the amount of assistance money that victims of disasters receive and therefore will make the money that disaster services organizations spend go farther. NYDIS and many of its member agencies sent letters in support of the legislation.

    To receive a copy of the letters NYDIS sent, contact:
    Alison VanBuskirk, VISTA Member, Communications
  • NYCOSH Continues to Oppose Bill Regulating Environmental Detectors

    The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) continues to advocate against Intro 650, a proposed bill that would require all environmental detectors to have a permit from the New York Police Department (NYPD). This bill was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security through the Bloomberg Administration with the stated purpose of preventing public anxiety and false alarms. At a January 8 hearing before the New York City Council, NYCOSH, along with the New York City Central Labor Council (NYCCLC), spoke out against the bill, which they assert will compromise individuals’ and companies’ abilities to protect themselves and their employees. Since the hearing, City Council has received public opposition to the bill from organizations such as the New York State Public Employees Federation and the Mount Sinai-Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The proposed legislation has been revised twice since the hearing as a result, but opponents still have major problems with it.

    For more information, including letters of opposition, visit NYCOSH’s webpage:

Preparedness Initiatives

  • CDC Releases Public Health Preparedness Report

    On February 20, the Centers for Disease Control’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Response released its report, Public Health Preparedness: Mobilizing State by State. The report outlines key improvements in public health emergency preparedness in states and cities across the United States since 9/11. These improvements come in the areas of disease detection and investigation, the number of public health laboratories, states’ response plans, and available trainings. The report also pinpoints areas of public health preparedness that need further development, including states’ abilities to quickly distribute medications to the public and the use of technology to increase readiness and response. Along with a national report, CDC has released information specific to each of the 50 states along with Chicago, Los Angelos County, New York City, and Washington DC.

    Read the NYC report: click here

    See reports for all locations:

    Read the CDC press release:
  • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

    • About NYDISNET and NYDISNET Alerts

      NYDISNET is our bi-weekly e-newsletter which provides updates about NYDIS’s work and other news concerning disaster readiness, response and recovery initiatives in New York City. Please feel free to copy and distribute any information from NYDISNET that you find helpful. If you would like to distribute NYDISNET to your agency staff or faith community leaders please let us know. During emergencies NYDIS will send a NYDISNET ALERT to all subscribers. These alerts include all official information available through the NYC Office of Emergency Management and news from our members and partners.

  • Cold Weather Preparedness

    • Centers for Disease Control: Cool Tip of the Week
      “Dress warmly. Wear a hat, scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, mittens (they are warmer than gloves), water-resistant coat and boots, and several layers of loose-fitting clothing.”

      For more winter weather tips from CDC:
  • Pandemic Flu Preparedness

    • Pandemic Flu Guide: Ministry & Hope During The Pandemic Influenza
      Developed for a May 2007 conference in Virginia for religious leaders held by the Fairfax County Health Department, Ministry & Hope During The Pandemic Influenza offers a pandemic flu overview and helpful guidance for faith communities as they create preparedness plans. The guide takes the emotional and spiritual aspects of pandemic preparedness into account to frame the readiness strategies it suggests.

      Read the guide: click here

We Recommend

  • Book Review: Philip Shenon’s The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

    In this January 2008 book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, Philip Shenon presents a thorough account of his findings about the 9/11 Commission’s work and the circumstances and politics surrounding it. As the Washington-based NY Times reporter who covered the Commission’s investigation of the terrorist attacks, Shenon discusses ways that the Commission may have been compromised because of the close connections between its Executive Director, Philip Zelikow, and the Bush administration. He also considers other ways the government potentially manipulated the Commission and its findings through choices of staff and decisions about the organizations it investigated.

    Read reviews and order the book at Amazon: click here
  • Scholarship Opportunity: The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation

    The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation is a scholarship program for children of New York City firefighters, victims of September 11, and victims of other disasters and fires. Since 2002, the Foundation has awarded over $800,000 in college scholarships to help these children afford a higher education. The application deadline for this year is April 30. The winners will be announced on June 30.

    Download the application:
  • Scholarship Opportunity: IAEM Scholarship Program

    The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Scholarship Program has scholarship money available for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in emergency management or a similar field. Applications are due on May 16.

    Download the application:
  • PreventionWeb: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster

    With a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), this website features comprehensive resources about disaster preparedness and management around the world. It is organized into sections based on particular regions of the world, ongoing themes and issues in disaster preparedness, and specific types of disasters. It also offers resources for disaster professionals about events and trainings, job openings, and opportunities for networking. The website is being developed by the secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

    Visit PreventionWeb:

Save The Date

  • NYCOSH/NYS AFL-CIO Workers’ Compensation Conference

    Changes in New York State Workers’ Compensation Law:
    What Do They Mean to Injured Workers?

    Thursday, March 20
    9 am – 1 pm
    Breakfast served at 8:30 am

    Cornell ILR School
    16 East 34th Street, 6th Floor
    Co-sponsored by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), the New York State AFL-CIO, and Cornell ILR School Labor Programs, this event will focus on changes in NY State workers’ compensation laws and how they affect injured workers. Speakers include Zachary Weiss’ Chairperson of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board; M. Patricia Smith, Commissioner of New York State Department of Labor; and Denis Hughes, President of New York State AFL-CIO. Panelists include Michael Lax from the Central New York Occupational Health Clinical Center, Stephen Levin from the Irving J. Selikoff Occupational and Environmental Health Clinic, and Eric Frumin from UNITE-HERE.

    For more information: click here
  • Institute for Disaster Mental Health Conference

    Friday, April 11
    SUNY at New Paltz, NY

    The Institute for Disaster Mental Health’s 5th annual conference, “Healing the Scars of War,” is for spiritual leaders and mental health professionals who provide services to veterans. Morning keynote speakers will highlight several approaches to assessment and treatment of service personnel and their families. Afternoon workshops will provide mental health practitioners and spiritual care providers with in-depth information, guidance, and training.

    For more information:

    Online pre-registration begins January 15:
  • Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness Conference

    April 17-18
    New Haven, CT

    Titled, “Community Preparedness: Addressing the Needs of Diverse Populations,” this conference will aim to provide participants with tools that can be used to plan for the needs of special, at-risk, and vulnerable populations during an emergency. Topics include emergency preparedness for diverse populations, ethical principles of emergency management, and risk communication.

    See the informational flyer: click here

    Register for the conference:
  • Annual National VOAD Conference

    May 5 – 8
    Little Rock, AR

    The 16th Annual VOAD Conference, “Pathways to Partnership," will hold pre-conference meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Kick-Off events start Tuesday night. Responding to attendee feedback, there will be more opportunity to network with “Talkshops,” facilitated discussions around topics of interest. It will take place at the Peabody Little Rock at 3 Statehouse Plaza.

    For more information:

Job & Volunteer Opportunities

  • NYDIS, Community Outreach & Training Volunteers

    NYDIS is seeking volunteers to support disaster preparedness/training programs and to perform other outreach duties under staff direction. Positions begin immediately.

    To apply, please email a Letter of Inquiry and Resume to:
    pgudaitis@nydis.org or fax to 212.669.6101.
  • Catholic Charities, Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

    Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ) is seeking to hire a Disaster Preparedness Coordinator to write, evaluate, and implement their disaster response plans. Additionally, the Coordinator will ensure that CCBQ is active in the NYC disaster preparedness community and coordinate internal and external emergency preparedness.

    For the job description: click here

    To apply, send resume and cover letter to:
    Nina Valmonte
    Associate Director
    Parish & Community Outreach and Services
    Fax: 718.722.6233

  • FEMA, Voluntary Agency Liaison

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has an opening for a Voluntary Agency Liaison in their Washington DC location. FEMA offers competitive compensation and a variety of growth and networking opportunities. The opening is for a two-year temporary appointment.

    For more information and to apply: click here

Make a Gift to NYDIS
  • Support NYDIS - Donate Online

    NYDISnetIf you'd like to make a donation to assist NYDIS in its mission of providing faith-based disaster services, click here, or send a check to NYDIS at 22 Cortlandt Street, 20th Fl., New York, NY 10007. NYDIS is a 501(c)(3) corporation and contributions are 100% tax deductible. It is a great way to honor or memorialize someone and we will send an acknowledgement of your gift.

    To donate online, go to the NYDIS homepage and click "Make a Donation":


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Tel: 212.669.6100 Fax: 212.669.6101