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Client Story: The Ongoing Impact of 9/11
Ms. S is a 50-year-old woman who worked as a Local 78 Asbestos Handler at Ground Zero for over 600 hours from September 19, 2001 to November 18, 2002. As a result of her work at the World Trade Center site, Ms. S suffers from 9/11-related musculoskeletal and respiratory injures that prevent her from working in the asbestos industry. As a single mother raising two young adolescent children, Ms. S had to turn to less physically demanding work as a street vendor. Her ability to support her family has been reduced significantly, and she has reached out to NYDIS for assistance with rental arrears and relocation expenses during periods of 9/11-related disability.

Ms. S has been working with 9/11 case managers at Asociación Tepeyac de New York, an agency funded by NYDIS for the past three years to provide 9/11 case management services. In addition, Ms. S has been actively pursuing a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits since 2004 and is near resolving this claim. While waiting for compensation for loss of earnings and medical care for her 9/11 related disabilities, Ms. S obtained a vending license from the City of New York, and she works as often as possible.

This year, thanks to funding from the NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable, Ms. S will be able to work more regularly and independently as a licensed street vendor. Ms. S. purchased a fruit vending cart with running water that meets Department of Health and Mental Hygiene standards. Including this year’s grant, Ms. S has been awarded $20,083.39 in cash assistance through the NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable. This assistance has been a bridge to long-term recovery and more financial stability for Ms. S and her family.

Please help our clients! Donate now to the NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable: click here
:: NYDIS Announces NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable to close in October

Following 7 years of service to over 4,500 9/11 clients who received more than $7.5 million in recovery cash assistance, the NYDIS 9/11 Recovery Program will close on October 31st due to the termination of major program funding. The 9/11 Recovery Program currently administers the New York City 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable and the 9/11 Coordinated Case Management Program, the sole remaining financial assistance and case management programs for World Trade Center (WTC) responders and other 9/11-impacted persons, both locally and nationally. Without new sources of philanthropic or governmental funding to continue the vital services offered at NYDIS, 9/11 survivors and health-impacted recovery workers will not receive the assistance necessary to prevent eviction or utilities shut-off, leaving them homeless or without essential services, such as electricity, heat, and gas.

For more information, contact:
Peter Gudaitis, Executive Director
:: NYDIS Resources Featured in ASTHO Pandemic Flu Planning Guide

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national nonprofit organization that represents state and territorial public health agencies of the United States, released a pandemic flu planning guide called the At-Risk Populations Project. This project aims to provide guidance for local and state public health officials as they plan to protect at-risk populations during a pandemic flu outbreak. Two NYDIS resources, HOWCALM® and NYDISnet, are featured as best practices in faith-based risk communication and asset management. HOWCALM® is listed as a resource in Chapter 1, page 14. NYDIS’s e-communications resources, NYDISnet and NYDISnet Alerts, are featured in Chapter 3, page 22.

To download the whole guide or individual chapters: click here
:: NYDIS Staff Featured Speakers at U of Albany Extreme Events III Conference

On August 6, the Extreme Events III: The Three Day Window conference will be held at the University of Albany School of Public Health’s East Campus in Rensselaer, New York. The conference is being offered to faith-based and community leaders, community health centers, hospitals, first responders, policymakers, and researchers. Executive Director Peter Gudaitis and Community Outreach and Training Coordinator Pastor Ruth Yoder Wenger are two of the three featured speakers at the conference. Gudaitis will address the critical roles and responsibilities faith and community leaders must assume to assist the public in preparing both during and after extreme events. Wenger will address how religious leaders should respond to the needs of the people traumatized by a disastrous event and how to re-build community strengths during emergencies.

For More Information or to Register (Required) Contact:
Colleen at 518.486.7921 or

The conference is sponsored by: The Northeast Regional Public Health Leadership Institute, University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness, and the New York Consortium for Emergency Preparedness Continuing Education
:: NYDIS Launches Disaster Chaplain Certification - Sign-Up Now!

Starting August 1st, NYDIS will begin taking registration for its Disaster Chaplain training program. Upon successful completion of training, participants will be certified to serve as a NYDIS Disaster Chaplain when activated. The 16-hour training includes a pre-requisite course in FEMA Incident Command, and four 4-hour units of training in disaster spiritual care, chaplaincy operations, self-care, and mental health assessment and referral. Sign-up now for sessions that will be scheduled in coming months. The course will cost $400, including 16 hours of instruction, a training manual, a response credential, response uniform, and a background check. NYDIS training faculty are also available to teach all four units of the curriculum to any community in the United States. This curriculum was developed through a grant from Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and will be made available through ERD to clergy and spiritual caregivers throughout the Episcopal Church.

For more information, contact:
Ruth Yoder Wenger, Community Outreach & Training
:: NYDIS Offers Trainings for Houses of Worship as Emergency Rest Centers

Calling all New York City houses of worship that would like to become NYDIS Emergency Rest Centers (ERCs) - sign-up now! ERCs are houses of worship that volunteer, in partnership with NYDIS, to be activated to serve the public by offering hospitality and safe haven during emergencies. During a heat wave, for example, your house of worship could serve your neighborhood as a cooling center – or, in the case of an evacuation, it could serve as a waiting center. NYDIS offers a 90-minute orientation for senior religious leaders from interested houses of worship, including a question and answer forum with NYDIS staff, as a prerequisite to the training for their ERC managers and volunteers. The orientation is followed by a 3-hour training for volunteers and volunteer managers for each ERC. NYDIS’s ERC program works in collaboration with volunteers from World Faith (a multi-faith student organization at NYU) and with the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM). 10 houses of worship are scheduled for training in August.

For more information about ERCs, view the ERC Program Profile: click here

For more information, contact:
Ruth Yoder Wenger, Community Outreach & Training
:: 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, August 7 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, August 21- 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, September 4- 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)

    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
:: CDC to Award $30 Million for Treating Non-Responders' 9/11 Illnesses

On July 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced their plans to award up to $30 million dollars in funding to centers that will provide medical monitoring and treatment to individuals who lived and worked near Ground Zero but who were not first responders. This group of non-responders previously has not had access to federally-funded health care for their 9/11-related illnesses. NY Members of Congress, including Senator Clinton and Representative Nadler, have been advocating for this kind of legislation and are pleased that the government is beginning to hear their concerns. 

Read the July 24 Reuters article: click here
:: FEMA Releases Draft of its National Disaster Housing Strategy

On July 21, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the draft of its National Disaster Housing Strategy, a document that describes the principles and strategies that guide the disaster housing process. It provides guidelines about how to engage all levels of government, as well as the private and non-profit sectors, in a disaster housing effort that will ensure individual and community needs are met efficiently. The National Disaster Housing Strategy also calls for the creation of a Disaster Housing Task Force, which will strategize and develop disaster housing plans. The 60-day comment period for the document began on July 23.

Read the press release from FEMA: click here
:: Gov. Paterson and Billy Crystal Appointed to 9/11 Memorial Board of Directors

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum Board of Directors recently appointed actor Billy Crystal as a Director on its Board and Governor David Paterson as an Honorary Trustee. Mayor Bloomberg serves as the Chair of the Board, which comprises 45 individuals, including community and corporate leaders, public officials, and family members of people who died on 9/11. Billy Crystal, a native New Yorker, expressed his conviction that the Memorial & Museum are “an opportunity to demonstrate New York’s strength and resolve, while ensuring that the memory of the lives lost are never forgotten.”

Read the July 17 press release: click here
:: WTC Site and 9/11 Memorial Construction Updates

On June 30, Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, released his assessment of the rebuilding effort at the World Trade Center site to Governor Paterson. While the Governor had requested a new schedule and cost estimate for completion of the site, Port Authority said that it cannot accurately predict those dates and numbers. Its report does stress that the project is making progress, even if it will not be completed by the previously-announced deadlines. In response to this news about the WTC site, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum released a statement assuring the public that it is feasible and imperative for the Memorial to open before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

See Port Authority’s report: click here

Read the statement from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum: click here
:: Department of Health Releases Guidelines for Adults Exposed to the WTC Disaster

The New York City Department of Health has released Clinical Guidelines for Adults Exposed to the World Trade Center Disaster. The guidelines outline possible types of exposure and their health effects, including the mental health issues that are common among people who directly were affected by 9/11. It briefly summarizes treatments for many of the physical health effects that people exposed to Ground Zero are suffering and offers information to help practitioners screen for mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disaster.

View the guidelines:

From Our Members & Partners

  • NY Times Covers HSC Closure and Reductions in Disaster Funds

    At the end of June, the Human Services Council of New York (HSC) suspended its Disaster Preparedness and Response Program due to lack of funding. On July 26, an article by April Dembosky titled, “Disasters Haven’t Abated but Cash Has, Groups Say,” appeared in the New York Times. The article offers observations by several agency executives on the funding crisis facing New York City disaster human services agencies, including NYDIS. Without increased governmental and philanthropic support, the City’s disaster agencies will continue to close or operate with greatly reduced programming as resources allow. Given the experience of 9/11 and the clear need for services, this will leave the City’s disaster human services agencies ill-prepared for future crises, and it will greatly reduce mitigation education and preparedness training for individuals and community leaders, thus decreasing the resilience of the entire city. Furthermore, critical functions provided by these agencies to support the City’s emergency planning efforts could be reduced or eliminated.

    Read the article:
  • UNITED SIKHS Provides Flood Relief in Iowa

    UNITED SIKHS is collecting non-perishable food items and emergency supplies to send to Iowa for flood relief. Iowa City and Cedar Rapids are both recovering from extensive damage caused by the mid-June floods. Many families had to evacuate their homes and ended up losing their possessions as well. UNITED SIKHS volunteers have collected supplies to send to an Iowa Gurdwara, where additional volunteers will distribute them among local churches. UNITED SIKHS encourages people interested in contributing to the effort to mail supplies directly to Iowa. Monetary donations are also gladly accepted.

    Read the press release:

    Send supplies:
    Iowa Sikh Association C/O Dilbagh Singh
    1115 Walnut Street
    West Des Moines, Iowa 50265.

    Donate to the effort online:

  • HSC Closes Disaster Preparedness and Response Program

    At the end of June, the Human Services Council of New York (HSC) suspended its Disaster Preparedness and Response Program due to a lack of funding. This program has brought the City’s non-profit Human Service agencies together since 2004, when it took over the planning responsibilities of the 9/11 United Services Group, an organization that coordinated between agencies to maximize the effectiveness of their 9/11 response and to make services easily accessible to the people who needed them. In 2007, HSC drafted the Human Services Disaster Plan, an important preparedness document for efficiently managing the work of New York City disaster human services organizations. This plan encourages communication between agencies, provides a toll-free HelpLine, and offers financial assistance for unmet needs. It also led to the creation of a Disaster Recovery Assistance Fund that allows non-profits to begin offering assistance immediately after a disaster takes place.

    Read the statement from HSC: click here

    See HSC’s website:


  • Sikh Coalition Organizes March to Protect Sikh Children

    On June 30, over 300 Sikhs from across the country gathered in Queens to march through the streets of Richmond Hill in protest of recent hate crimes in New York City schools. In early June, two Sikh children were attacked in their schools because of their faith. One student was punched in the face after someone tried to remove his patka (smaller turban), while another student’s long hair was cut off. In response to these incidents, the Sikh Coaltion organized this civil rights march which ended at Richmond Hill High School, the site of the former attack. Their work has led the Department of Education to begin to respond to the bias that these children face in school by incorporating the Sikh Coalition’s recommendations into its regulations and educational materials about bias. The DOE also intends to expand its incident reporting system in order to better track incidents of bias.

    Read the June 30 press release: click here

    Read “Making Our Voices Heard: A Civil Rights Agenda for New York City Sikhs”: click here

    Visit the Sikh Coalition’s website:

Preparedness Initiatives

  • 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.

  • Heat Preparedness

    • NYC Department for the Aging Offers Free Air Conditioners to Seniors
      Heat waves kill more Americans each year than all other kinds of natural disaster combined. To reduce preventable heat-related deaths, the NYC Department for the Aging’s 2008 Cooling Assistance Program offers free air conditioners to seniors over the age of 60 who are at risk for heat-related illnesses. Eligibility requirements include living in a private home or apartment with at least one person who has an acute medical condition.

      For more information, guidelines, and an application: click here

      For information about heat-related morbidity and mortality: click here

    • Extreme Heat Safety Tips
      The New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) offers a list of important pointers for staying safe during periods of extreme heat. These tips include staying out of the sun, keeping living spaces well-ventilated, drinking lots of water, and looking out for neighbors, especially senior citizens. The resource also describes symptoms and basic treatments of common heat illnesses including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. In addition, it explains the health effects of exposure to ozone, a major component of smog. Children are especially vulnerable to these effects.

      Learn more about staying safe in the heat:
  • Public Health Preparedness

    • Human-to-Human Transmission of Bird Flu Suspected in China
      China’s National Disease Authority has confirmed that a man in China has been infected with the H5N1 strain of the influenza virus after his son died of the disease. This incidence has led to concerns about the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus. H5N1, an especially virulent and lethal strain of the virus that is found mostly in birds, could potentially pass quickly between people, even though it does not pass easily from birds to humans. So far, none of the 69 people who came in contact with the men who were infected have shown signs of the disease, a fact which suggests that even if the virus passed from son to father, it is likely not a highly contagious strain.

      Read the July 19 article:

    • Positive Outlook for DNA Vaccine against Pandemic Flu
      Inovio Biomedical Corporation has announced the pre-clinical results from two DNA-based broad-spectrum vaccine candidates intended to protect against pandemic influenza. In laboratory tests, 100% of mice injected with the vaccines survived after being introduced to the H5N1 influenza virus. The mice showed only minor weight loss as a side effect. This kind of DNA-based vaccine varies from other vaccines because it can protect against multiple strains of the influenza virus. While strain-specific vaccines protect against single types of the influenza virus, broad-spectrum vaccines target parts of the virus’s genome that are more stable and less likely to mutate.

      Read the July 16 article in Business Wire: click here

    • GAO Report: States Are Planning for a Medical Surge
      The Government Accountability Office released a June 2008 report concerning states’ ability to respond to an influx of patients needing care after a mass casualty. The report examines what states are doing to prepare, what the federal government is doing to help them prepare, and what concerns have arisen during the preparations. Most states have begun to plan for such a surge by following guidelines from the federal government and by using the federal money allocated to them. The report outlines the challenges and concerns that states face as they continue to meet the government’s guidelines about preparing for a surge. States have requested guidance about the critical issue of how to distribute scarce resources during an emergency.

      Read the June 2008 GAO Report:
  • Special Needs Preparedness

    • Heat Safety for Special Needs Populations
      NYC OEM and the NYC Department for Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) have created a heat safety tip sheet for service providers who work with special needs populations. Risk factors for heat-related illnesses include being over the age of 65 or under the age of 4, having a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, and taking certain medications. The tip sheet outlines these and other risk factors. It offers ideas for preparing clients for periods of extreme heat as well as for reaching out to clients during such periods.

      Read the tip sheet:
  • Preparedness for Diverse Communities

    • Emergency Preparedness Resources for Culturally Diverse Communities
      Developed by the Drexel University School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equality, the National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities is the first online center designed to improve communication, advance preparedness efforts, and increase resilience among racially and ethnically diverse communities. It aims to eliminate disparities in the emergency preparedness and recovery capabilities of these communities through information-sharing and networking. The National Resource Center includes training curricula, research tools, public health emergency news, and translated materials. Its exceptional new e-newsletter provides subscribers with new resources, events, and updates concerning public health and emergency preparedness for diverse communities.

      Visit the National Resource Center:

      Subscribe to the free e-newsletter:

We Recommend

  • Read the Article, “Be prepared for disasters"

    In Kim Painter’s July 20 article in USA Today, titled “Be prepared for disasters,” she describes the lack of preparedness in America in 2008. In spite of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, as well as awareness of other recent disasters, most American households have no emergency kits or disaster plans. Painter recognizes the difficulties that Americans find with preparedness guidelines, such as the financial hardship of having to purchase respirators and face masks to prepare for pandemic flu, but she encourages taking inexpensive, quick, and important steps, like planning how families will contact each other in an emergency and locating the emergency supplies already in the home.

    Read the article:
  • Read the Article, "Are You Ready for the Next Disaster?"

    Eric Klinenberg, in his July 6 NY Times article titled, “Are You Ready for the Next Disaster?,” discusses the general ineffectiveness of emergency preparedness efforts throughout history. Even after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, most Americans do not concern themselves with household preparedness even as they lose confidence in the government’s ability to protect them. Klinenberg reports that after talking with New York City residents about why they do not prepare themselves for disasters, he learned that many people feel overwhelmed by the vast number of things that there are to worry about. Many shy away from the idea of a culture of preparedness because it appears to place fear at the center of their lives. Klinenberg concludes by suggesting that an important aspect of disaster preparedness is creating a feeling of community that makes people help their neighbors and trust that they would also be helped.

    Read the July 6 NY Times article: click here
  • View Psycho-Social Risk Communications Resources

    In June, the NY State Health Department hosted a series of Psycho-Social Risk Communications & Mass Mortality Workshops for Faith Leaders. With a focus on how to communicate in ways people will understand and remember during high-stress situations, the workshops featured experts who served in the risk communications field during such disasters as the Oklahoma City bombing, the 1998 shootings at Columbine High School, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina. The slides from the workshops are now available online.

    View the resources from the workshops:

    If you have questions, contact:
    Katie Schafer
  • Visit the "Innovations in Effective Compassion" Website

    Developed as part of the “Innovations in Effective Compassion” National Conference, held at the White House on June 26 and 27, this website provides viewers with research, evaluations, practical tools, and other resources related to the work of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Some examples of materials on the site include the “Targeting Human Needs Profiles,” which reflect the partnership between the government and non-profits to address pressing problems like homelessness, addiction, and AIDS.

    Visit the site:
  • Download Handouts from the National Conference on Animals in Disaster

    The website of the Humane Society of the United States features a variety of handouts related to pet preparedness that were distributed at the National Conference on Animals Disaster, which took place June 3-6. The conference offered three tracks: Preparedness and Planning, Response, and Veterinary/Medical Issues. Handouts are available for all three tracks.

    Go to: https://gateway.hsus.org/ncad/handouts/index.cfm
    Password: humane

Save The Date

  • Extreme Events III Conference at University of Albany School of Pubic Health

    August 6
    8:30 am – 4:30 pm
    East Campus in Rensselaer, New York
    University of Albany School of Public Health

    The conference is being offered to faith-based and community leaders, community health centers, hospitals, first responders, policymakers, and researchers. Speakers will address the critical roles and responsibilities faith and community leaders must assume to assist the public in preparing both during and after extreme events, as well as how religious leaders should respond to the needs of the people traumatized by a disastrous event and how to re-build community strengths during emergencies.

    For More Information or to Register (Required) Contact:
    Colleen at 518.486.7921 or
  • 6th Annual International Emergency Preparedness Symposium

    September 10
    8:30 am – 4:30 pm
    32 Old Slip
    Goldman Sachs Training Center

    The New York Downtown Hospital is holding its 6th Annual International Emergency Preparedness Symposium to bring together specialists from across the country and world to share their experience and learn from other emergency preparedness professionals. This year’s topics include Response to Urban Construction Disasters, Medical and Public Health Readiness for Catastrophic Events, and Update on Health Status of 9/11 Workers. The conference also will explore emergency preparedness and response as they relate to recent events in China, Burma, and Iraq.

    For more information: click here

Job & Volunteer Opportunities

  • Emergency Response System Specialist, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

    The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) is looking to hire an individual with strong project management, organizational, communication, and presentation skills to help coordinate and implement their Emergency Response System. The job includes interaction with department heads, senior managers, and other critical staff in a multidisciplinary effort to support and develop ERS goals and projects. Other duties include coordinating and supporting departments in Business Continuity planning, creating and presenting training materials, and designing emergency drills.

    For more information, read the job description: click here
  • Technical Writer for Contract Work, CUNY School of Professional Studies

    The CUNY School of Professional Studies is collaborating with the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to prepare training materials for NYC’s Coastal Storm Plan. They are seeking a technical writer who is able to translate emergency response plans into reader-friendly field guides. The contract will begin no later than the end of August.

    For more information or to apply, contact:
    Project Director
  • NYDIS, AmeriCorps*VISTA Position

    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 are seeking a VISTA Leader who will support NYDIS’s VISTA program. A detailed position description is attached below.

    VISTA Leader: click here

    For more information, contact:
    Amber Gibson

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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