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Client Story: The Ongoing Impact of 9/11
Mr. R. joined the 9/11 recovery efforts at Ground Zero on September 13, 2001. After spending eight months working for an asbestos removal company at the site, Mr. R. began to experience health problems that forced him to cut his hours and eventually stop working altogether.

In January 2004, the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program diagnosed Mr. R. with chronic respiratory conditions, acid reflux disease, and totally disabling back injuries. He also suffered from psychological trauma and has been diagnosed with chronic post traumatic stress and major depressive disorder.

He turned to NYDIS for help and was assigned a caseworker who has been helping him since August 2004. The NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable has provided Mr. R. and his family of five with rent, utilities, and food payments to aid their long-term recovery when all other means of assistance failed them. As a result of his application to the Roundtable, his wife has received job training and is now fully employed. His family is sustained by his wife’s income along with public benefits, while he is actively pursuing the maximum allowable benefits under workers’ compensation. Mr. R. says about the UNR, “They have helped me move on with my life, to overcome my problems. I am thankful to (NYDIS) for giving me these moments, this peace of mind in times of crisis.”
:: NYDIS's Marco Riquelme Named 2008 AmeriCorps Spirit of Service Finalist

Each year, the Corporation for National and Community Service presents the Spirit of Service Award to outstanding participants in each of its AmeriCorps programs, including State and National, NCCC, VISTA, and Alumni. NYDIS was pleased to nominate Marco Riquelme, IT and HOWCALM® Program Manager, for the Alumni category. Marco served with NYDIS in the AmeriCorps Homeland Security Project ROSES program in 2005-06. During his term of service, Marco was responsible for building the web-based asset mapping system now called HOWCALM® (House of Worship Communitywide Asset and Logistics Management). This system is now the leading technology available for faith-based disaster human services asset mapping in the nation. NYDIS has benefited greatly Marco’s AmeriCorps service as well as his dedication and creativity as a member of the professional staff. As a result of his continued commitment to service, he was selected as a finalist for the award.
:: NYDIS Participates in Citizen Corps Council Disaster Volunteer Conference

NYDISnetOn May 17 and 18, NYDIS’s Executive Director and VISTAs participated in NYC Citizen Corps Council’s 2008 Disaster Volunteer Conference, titled “Preparing to Recover.” Intended to build interagency coordination on the issues of disaster readiness, response, and recovery, the conference focused on training and educating volunteer leaders. In the morning, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph Bruno welcomed attendees to the event. Following his remarks, a panel of volunteer leaders discussed their complementary roles in disaster response. The day ended with two workshop sessions which addressed topics related to disaster preparedness and recovery, including “Community Disaster Networks,” co-taught by NYDIS Executive Director Peter Gudaitis, Adam Runkle of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, and Herman Shaeffer of OEM. Along with these panels and workshops, the conference provided networking opportunities among a variety of disaster services professionals and religious leaders.

For more information about Citizen Corps Council:

For more information about NYC OEM:
:: NYDIS Leads HOWCALM® Outreach Project during AmeriCorps Week 2008

NYDISnetFrom May 11 through May 18, AmeriCorps Week’s service projects, community gatherings, and recruitment fairs took place across the country to highlight and promote the contributions that AmeriCorps programs make in our communities. NYDIS VISTA members led a project in New York City which focused on conducting outreach for HOWCALM®, NYDIS’s asset-mapping database system for disaster planning and response. With approximately ten students from the High School of Public Service and local colleges participating in the outreach, fifteen houses of worship in Brooklyn were verified. NYDIS is grateful for these volunteers’ work and for their VISTA members, whose service has contributed to HOWCALM®’s implementation.
:: NYDIS ED Attends White House Compassion in Action Roundtable

On May 19, NYDIS’s Executive Director & CEO, Peter Gudaitis, was among 100 invited guests to attend the White House Faith-Base and Community Initiatives Roundtable entitled, “Partnerships in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery: The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Building Resilient Communities.” Held in the White House complex, the conference brought together government agencies with faith-based and community leaders to strengthen their collaboration on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. The Roundtable emphasized key policies, models, and technology that enhance these efforts. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff delivered the keynote remarks.

Read the press release:
:: 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, June 5 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, June 19 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)

    To RSVP, 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, June 12 - 10:00 am-12:00 pm

    To RSVP, contact:
    Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
:: 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
:: U.S. Government's Focus on Terrorism Frustrates States

State and local governments are becoming increasingly frustrated by the federal government’s focus on terrorism. For example, in order to receive needed federal funding, states are now required to create plans to keep their state safe from IEDs, a threat that is common in the Middle East but that states find to be an unrealistic concern in the United States. Many state and local officials understand the importance of protecting their residents against potential threats but believe that their most important financial priorities involve everyday violence in their neighborhoods. Without any concrete evidence that terrorism is likely, these leaders feel the need to allot the majority of their funding to other causes. Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, explains that federal directives to state governments are not unreasonable. Instead, he argues, the U.S. must take precautions to keep the country as prepared as possible.

Read the May 26 NY Times article: click here
:: Mount Sinai Study Finds High Rates of PTSD in 9/11 Responders

A new study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine reveals that people who served as first responders after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center have significantly higher rates of psychological distress than the general population. Some of these psychological problems include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and panic disorder. The study reveals that the number of responders who are experiencing PTSD is comparable to that of veterans who served in the war in Afghanistan. In response to Mount Sinai’s findings, Senator Clinton and Representatives Maloney, Nadler, and Towns have again stressed the need for federal funding to support the physical and mental health care available to these responders.

Read the Mount Sinai Report: click here

Read the May 20 press release from the Office of Representative Nadler: click here
:: Emergency Management Sector Shows Growing Job Outlook

According to FEMA and data from private sector research, the field of emergency management and disaster recovery is growing in the United States in spite of the weakened economy. By 2012, these sources predict that the sector will spend $65 billion in wages alone to employ 1.2 million people. Examples of emergency management jobs include environmental science and protection technicians, paramedics, fire fighters, and occupational health and safety specialists. While $65 billion may seem like a strain on government spending, the cost of not being prepared in a large-scale disaster is much greater, as Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis reveal.

Read the article in Homeland Security News: click here
:: Larry Silverstein Optimistically Rebuilds the WTC Complex

With construction in progress on the Freedom Tower as well as WTC 3 and 4, Larry A. Silverstein’s company has over $9 billion worth of projects in process at a time when many other developers are suffering in a staggering economy. Silverstein has weathered tumultuous times at the World Trade Center site since 1987, when the first 7 WTC building was finished shortly before the stock market crashed. Just under 15 years later, 9/11 happened. In both instances, Silverstein remained optimistic about his goals for his buildings. Firmly and patiently waiting for the right time and buyer, he does not budge in his rent negotiations. He confidently anticipates an upturn in the economy that will help him fill WTC 7 and that will continue through the upcoming years to coincide with the availability of space in the WTC Complex, which will be completed in 2012.

Read the May 14 NY Times article: click here
:: Health Department Announces New Program for 9/11 Mental Health Treatment

On April 21, the NYC Health Department announced its plans for a new program that will cover mental health and substance abuse treatment for New York City residents and workers who are still struggling with the psychological impacts of 9/11. The program will reimburse eligible New Yorkers for out-of-pocket outpatient treatment including therapy, medication, lab work, and evaluations received anytime between January 2, 2007 and January 7, 2011. According to data collected in the years following 9/11, as many as 40% of Lower Manhattan residents experienced stress symptoms that indicate a potential for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similarly, recovery workers experienced PTSD symptoms three times more than the rest of the population. Enrollment for the benefit will continue from the present until July 2010.

For more information:

To find out if you are eligible for the benefit or to enroll, go to:

From Our Members & Partners

  • Sikh Coalition to Open Office in San Francisco Bay Area

    On May 19, the Sikh Coalition announced its plans to open a Western Region office in the San Francisco Bay Area during the summer of 2008. Staff members in the New York office have been planning this expansion for over a year and a half and are preparing to help start operations on the West Coast. By the end of 2008, the Western Region office will have three full-time staff members to support Sikh civil rights through education, litigation, and advocacy. With offices in both New York and San Francisco, the Sikh Coalition will expand their capacity to educate and engage the community in this vital work to stand up for Sikh rights as they practice their faith without fear.

    Read the press release: click here
  • ARC Seeks Federal Funding to Support Disaster Response Staff

    Although the American Red Cross (ARC) typically does not seek government funding, it has recently requested $7 million of federal money to maintain a staff that will manage state and federal disaster resources. This staff is required by the new National Response Framework (NRF), which lays out a plan for national disaster response in the United States. Under the NRF, ARC must provide one full-time employee at each of FEMA’s ten regional offices. These positions provide important coordination services during disasters, but ARC’s current budget does not have room to sustain them.

    Read the NY Times article: click here
  • 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.

    View the Membership Criteria and Application: click here


  • UNITED SIKHS Advocates for the People of Myanmar Concerning Cyclone Relief

    On May 22, the Malyasian Operations Coordinator of UNITED SIKHS Myanmar Disaster Relief, Sunil Shukvir Singh, attended a briefing by the Prime Minister of Myanmar to the U.N. Secretary General. Following the briefing, Sunil Shukvir Singh participated in a series of meetings with other global relief workers to advocate for the people affected by the disaster. These meetings concerned how international aid organizations can coordinate the relief efforts to help the people of Myanmar receive vital food and medical supplies quickly and efficiently. With the generosity of Air Asia, which offered free air travel and cargo room, Sunil Shukvir Singh was able to carry 1,000 pounds of donated infant formula and food along with important medical supplies to distribute in Myanmar. More supplies will be delivered when additional UNITED SIKHS staff members fly to Myanmar. To donate to the UNITED SIKHS aid efforts in Myanmar, please drop off supplies at any Sikh Gurdwara.

    Read the press release for more information: click here

Preparedness Initiatives

  • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

    • Is Your House of Worship Registered with HOWCALM®?

      NYDISnet Available to NYC faith communities and houses of worship, NYDIS has developed HOWCALM®, a free, secure, web-based database system for managing faith-based assets in times of crisis. By tracking the logistics and resources of houses of worship, religious schools, and faith-based service providers, the system enhances preparedness, response capacity, and emergency planning efforts in NYC. Enrolling in HOWCALM® provides congregations with access to the emergency communication system as well as disaster training opportunities. It also enhances NYDIS’s ability to work in partnership with OEM and human service agencies in their emergency planning and preparedness efforts.

      For more information download the brochure on pdf: click here

      To register your House of Worship: click here

  • Spring Storm & Hurricane Preparedness

    • DTN/Meteorlogix's Free Summer Weather and Hurricane Forecast
      On May 29 at 1:30 pm, DTN/Meteorlogix's long-range forecaster, Jeff Johnson, will share a free summer weather and hurricane forecast for first responders. Following his online presentation, viewers will have the opportunity to ask him specific questions about their region of the country or their field of work.

      For more information and to register:

    • Flood Safety
      NOAA’s National Weather Service has created a site, Turn Around, Don’t Drown, to educate Americans about flood safety. The site reports that more deaths occur because of floods than any other form of severe weather, largely because people underestimate the power of even small amounts of water. The site presents a collection of flood safety resources and stories to encourage Americans to be prepared for flooding and make smart decisions during floods.

      Learn about flood safety at the Turn Around, Don’t Drown website:

    • Tornado and Thunderstorm Safety
      As the spring storm season approaches, it’s helpful to review thunderstorm and tornado safety information. CDC offers a preparedness fact sheet with tips about how to prepare, what to do to keep safe during a storm, how to accommodate for special needs, and important information to have on hand.

      Read CDC’s preparedness information:
  • Pandemic Flu Preparedness

    • Physicians Release Recommendations about Who to Save First in Pandemic
      On May 5, a report outlining a specific list of recommendations concerning who doctors should treat first in the case of a pandemic flu outbreak appeared in Chest, the medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. The list attempts to provide guidelines for doctors who might face the dilemma of not having enough time and resources to save every patient. Compiled by a task force of professionals from top universities, medical groups, and government agencies, the recommendations suggest not treating people whose chance of survival is minimal even with treatment. This group includes those who are over the age of 85, who suffer from severe chronic diseases, and who have severe mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease.

      Read the AP story in USA Today:

We Recommend

  • Read Emergency Management Research and People With Disabilities Guide

    The United States Department of Education and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) recently published a resource guide about emergency management and people with disabilities. The guide includes a listing of research projects concerning this topic as well as a list of recommendations that have come out of the research. Its purpose is to aid the development and implementation of an evidence-based agenda that will effectively and efficiently protect the well being of people with disabilities during emergencies and disasters.

    Read the guide:
  • OSHA Safety and Health Checklist for Disaster Recovery

    The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) created this checklist for voluntary and community-based organizations engaged in disaster recovery demolition and construction activities. A compilation of planning resources for recovery training programs comes along with the checklist.

    View the checklist:
  • Read “Preparing for disaster? (I have church business to conduct.)”

    In his article, “Preparing for disaster? (I have church business to conduct.),” J. Lewis Saylor, FCBA, explains why disaster preparation not only is an important investment for churches but also makes them more efficient day-to-day. Preparing for disasters encourages churches to function in an organized and effective manner at all times. It also has the potential to build community and individual readiness among members of the congregation. Saylor suggests that having a disaster plan encourages clergy and congregants to consider what it means to be good stewards of their resources. Even if a disaster does not occur in a given month or year at a particular church, volunteers can offer the skills and resources that they accumulate through preparedness efforts to disaster-stricken areas across the country that do have great need of services and supplies.

    Read the full article: click here
  • Take the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Course for Faith-Based Organizations

    This online course was developed through the Extension Disaster Education Network and the Centers for Disease Control. It takes two to four hours to complete. While it focuses on planning for pandemic influenza, the strategies and ideas it presents can be used to prepare for all hazards. The first section of the course presents participants with control measures they can use to protect themselves and their communities in the case of a pandemic. The second section elaborates on potential impact a pandemic can have and instructs participants about how to write an effective pandemic preparedness and response plan.

    Take the course:

Save The Date

  • White House Conference on Disaster Relief and Preparedness

    May 29 and 30
    Day 1: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
    Day 2: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
    New Orleans, LA

    Hosted by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, this conference will focus on the role of faith and community organizations in all stages of disaster preparedness and response. It will pay special attention to providing non-profits with trainings and resources for achieving sustainable disaster relief in the Gulf Coast region. Additionally, the conference aims to offer opportunities for networking among these non-profit organizations and the government. Registration ends on May 15.

    For more information:

    Register online:
  • 2nd National Capital Region Interagency Chaplains Conference

    May 30
    8:00 am – 3:30 pm
    Ft. Myer, VA

    Co-hosted by Joint Force Headquarters—National Capital Region / U.S. Army Military District of Washington (JFHQ-NCR / MDW) and the Public Safety Chaplains Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), this conference is titled, “Concentric Circles of Care: Who Can Do What, When, Where, Why, and How in Response to a Disaster in the NCR?” It includes sessions about Interagency Emergency Response Ministry, First Responders, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs). The purpose of the event is to educate professionals from a range of organizations about what people in other sectors do during disasters to enable maximum understanding and cooperation.

    To register: click here

    To view the schedule: click here
  • Feel the Music! First Responders and Veterans Day

    May 31
    11:00 am – 3 pm

    Church of Our Saviour
    One Education Drive
    1901 Northern Blvd.
    Manhasset, NY 11030

    Feel the Music! invites WTC recovery workers, returning veterans, and their families to participate in a fun day of free percussion and art classes. A light lunch will be provided.

    For more information, visit:

    To register, contact:
    Lucia Dundara
  • MCNY Emergency Management Symposium

    June 18
    9:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY)
    431 Canal Street
    Price: $35

    Titled “We Know Where We Have Been, But Where Are We Going?,” this symposium will offer emergency management professionals an opportunity to share ideas and best practices concerning public health, special needs, and training. Speakers include New York City OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno, United Nations Chemical Weapons Inspector Paul Butler, and pandemic specialist and MCNY professor Jessica O’Neill.

    For more information or to register, contact:
    Patrice Burkes
  • Engaging Youth in Emergency Preparedness

    June 19
    8:30 am – 11:00 am
    American Red Cross Headquarters
    520 West 49th Street, Manhattan
    The Youth Task Force of New York City Citizen Corps Council (CCC) will be holding a meet and greet with the directors of youth programs throughout the city. Participants will come away with a variety of resources and ideas for incorporating preparedness efforts and a spirit of volunteerism into their programs for the city’s youth.

    To sign up for the event, contact:
    Lucy Lopez

Job & Volunteer Opportunities

  • NYDIS, AmeriCorps*VISTA Positions

    NYDIS’s AmeriCorps*VISTA program engages VISTA members at NYDIS and partnering sub-site agencies in capacity-building activities that enhance and expand disaster preparedness and recovery services for low-income communities. The ultimate goal is to build a culture of preparedness by increasing and improving faith-based disaster and emergency programs, thereby reducing the vulnerability of under-served, marginalized populations.

    We currently have a total of four VISTA positions available at NYDIS. For job descriptions and position details, see the attachments below.

    Communications VISTA: click here
    Community Outreach & Training VISTA: click here
    HOWCALM® VISTA: click here
    VISTA Leader: click here

    For more information, contact:
    Amber Gibson
  • NYDIS, Communications Volunteers

    NYDIS is seeking volunteers to provide support for the Communications office. Positions begin immediately.

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

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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