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Welcome to NYDISnet, the e-newsletter of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS).

NYDISnet is New York City's only faith-based Sandy recovery e-news resource, and provides the latest updates on resources, events, trainings and other matters of interest to the recovery community and religious leaders - including 9/11 long-term recovery news. NYDIS also distributes NYDISnet ALERTs during local emergencies or to notify New York City faith communities and our partners of important news.

You can donate at our website link below.

If you have questions or comments about NYDISnet, or if you have news that you want to submit to us, please e-mail info@nydis.org.


Rev. Ruth Yoder Wenger, Executive Vice President

Visit our website for more information.

NYDIS Sandy Recovery Resources

On-Line NYC Sandy Recovery Guide (with Widgets)

On-Line NYC Sandy Recovery Calendar
NYC Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable & NYC Unmet Needs Fund
The Unmet Needs Roundtables convene donors, long-term recovery groups and case management agencies to financially assist impacted families with unmet needs beyond those met by all other current programs. Through the advocacy of a case manager, the Roundtables (which are centrally managed and meet in each borough) provide emergency cash assistance, recovery grants, loans and discounted/tax-free building supplies to eligible survivor households. Assistance is targeted to ensure and sustain survivors' long-term recovery. For more information, contact info@nydis.org.
NYC Volunteer Group Housing Program (VGHP): Form-Sets
NYDIS supports and coordinates out-of-state volunteer groups seeking housing and Sandy rebuild organizations for them to volunteer with during their stay.

To secure housing or find a place to volunteer, call 212-669-6100 or email the VGHP

A comprehensive culturally and religiously competent form-set to assist potential host sites in housing rebuild volunteers in support of Superstorm Sandy Recovery efforts includes two handbooks for host sites and volunteer groups and exhaustively covers a wide range of resources for organizations involved in volunteer housing rebuild. View or download the VGHP Form Set for Host Sites & Volunteer Groups.

Connect With Us - for Daily Recovery Updates
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NYDIS Seeks Rental Units for Sandy Temporary Rental Program
The Sandy Temporary Rental Program (STRP), administered by NYDIS in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations (HRO), supports the unmet temporary rental housing needs of under-resourced Sandy-impacted homeowners who are being required by Build it Back to vacate for construction or elevation. The STRP is seeking to identify rental units for short-term rental (6-12 months) for clients who need to vacate their homes for construction or elevation. The following neighborhoods are a priority to ensure that even though families are displaced from their homes, they are not displaced from their communities: Brooklyn - Brighton Beach, Canarsie, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, and Sheepshead Bay; Queens - Arverne, Edgemere, Broad Channel, Breezy Pont, Far Rockaway - Bayswater; Staten Island - Cedar Grove, Midland Beach, New Dorp Beach, South Beach. Email inquiries and/or complete the checklist below and submit to unmetneeds@nydis.org.
NYDIS Releases 2014 Annual Meeting Video - Check it out!
January 15: NYDIS is pleased to release the video of our 2014 Annual Meeting & Partnership Awards hosted by our board and staff at the NYU Kimmel Center. Click to view.

NYDIS Presents at FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Workshop
August 19: NYDIS Chief Response Officer Peter Gudaitis presented on "Engaging Faith Communities in Disaster" at the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Workshop, "A Whole Community Approach to Bolstering Resilience." The Individual and Community Preparedness Workshop showcased best practices and lessons learned for preparing the whole community. The whole community approach emphasizes collaboration in order to ensure that individuals and communities will be better prepared and more resilient.

NYDIS Takes Part in First National Disaster Spiritual Care Summit
August 10-12: NYDIS' Chief Response Officer participated in this inaugural Summit along with 100 colleagues from across the U.S., which aimed to bring together voluntary organizational disaster response leadership from local, regional, state and national levels for shared conversations regarding pertinent issues and challenges. Designed for key decision-makers in disaster spiritual care, the event was an opportunity to network with leaders on implementation of the Guidelines. Read more here.

NYDIS Contributes to Report on Community-Based Prevention of Multiple Casualty Violence
NYDIS' Chief Response Officer served as the subject matter expert on U.S. faith communities on the  2014 working group aimed at generating a multiple-casualty violence-prevention toolkit that is adaptable to individual communities' needs, titled: Community-Based Approaches to Prevention: A Report on the 2014 National Summit on Preventing Multiple Casualty Violence. The report was based on summits facilitated by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's headquarters in Glynco, Georgia, in partnership with the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Johns Hopkins University. The first summit occurred in December 2012, with participants developing crosscutting recommendations focused on professional communities sharing information across traditional jurisdictional boundaries. The second summit, held in April 2013, highlighted the criticality of local community involvement in prevention. These two events culminated in the need to create a practical and actionable framework for individual communities to develop, implement, and sustain prevention strategies. Read more.

NYC Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable Passes $10 Million in Assistance to Survivors' Recovery
In July 2015, the NYC Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable surpassed $10 million in assistance to Hurricane Sandy survivors through emergency cash assistance, recovery grants, loans and discounted/tax-free building supplies to eligible survivor households. The UNR continues to gather donors, long-term recovery groups and case management agencies to financially assist impacted families with unmet needs beyond those met by all other current programs.
Pope's Visit to NYC in First US Trip to Include Multi-Religious Service at 9/11 Memorial
Pope Francis' first trip to the United States since becoming Pope will include a visit to New York City from September 24-26, 2015. The Pope's itinerary includes a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center, in addition to an Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick's Cathedral, an address to the United Nations General Assembly, a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, and Mass at Madison Square Garden. The Pope's tour will begin in Washington, D.C. and conclude with the World Meeting of Families, September 26-27 in Philadelphia. Read more.

Bishop Dietsche of the Episcopal Diocese of New York Speaks on Climate Change
The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, Episcopal Bishop of New York, speaks on climate change from the Biblical Garden of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in a recent video. He references the effects of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene in NYC, noting that "NY is not hurricane country, but we are experiencing a change in weather grown from a change in climate that is affecting the lives of our people dramatically." He spoke on the perspectives of local populations worldwide, which he gathered from engagement in international discussions on climate change, and how adding these perspectives to his New York experience was humbling, inspiring him to a "deeper level of commitment to this work." Watch here.

IAEM: Arlington Case Study Reaches Out to Houses of Worship
July 2015: The International Association of Emergency Managers and Arlington County Office of Emergency Management produced a Faith-Based Recovery Resource Capacity Training session in May 2015 for faith-based organizations in Arlington and surrounding areas. The Arlington study highlights how matching expectations with capabilities between secular and faith-based response beforehand builds the community, may save lives, and will strengthen local congregations. The training developed uses table-top exercises, open discussion, and resource presentations to support faith-based organizations to be better prepared to withstand emergencies, be more aware of available emergency planning resources, strengthen capabilities to provide services after an event, and understand their role in community disaster recovery. Read more.
NY State, Sandy Disaster Case Management Referral Line: 855-258-0483

Resource Guides and Websites
- Catholic Charities-DCMP Resource Guide
- NYDIS Recovery Resource Guide
- JCC Staten Island Connect to Recovery Resources Guide  

National Flood Mitigation Resource List
FEMA's National Flood Insurance Resource List contains links to important information for property owners, notifications on Increased Cost of Compliance, FEMA flood hazard data, outlines of Community Rating System qualifications, and other details. The full resource list can be found here.

Counseling Support for Build it Back Applicants
Build it Back offers counseling referrals to eligible applicants who may need additional assistance moving their application forward. The Build it Back Counseling Partners are experts in housing, financial and legal issues with experience working in affected communities. They can work with clients one-on-one to resolve tough challenges related to their applications. Counseling is provided at no cost to individuals who are eligible and registered. Find out more here.

Free Mental Health Services for Children and Teens in Sandy-Affected Areas
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) offers free mental health services available for children and adolescents living in the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Mental health evaluation and treatment will be provided at no cost through the NYC Child and Adolescent Resiliency Enhancement Services (NYC CARES) program. The NYC CARES program is available at Coney Island Hospital, St. John's Episcopal Hospital for residents of the Rockaways and at the Staten Island Mental Health Society for Staten Island residents. To learn more, call 311 or click here.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Changes
NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency offers resources on flood risk, FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map updates, and flood insurance purchase requirements here. NYC residents can also learn about their flood risk at floodhelpny.org, a project of the Association of NYC Neighborhoods.

Disaster Assistance Resource
FEMA's Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) has set up a website (DisasterAssistance.gov) to help survivors navigate the disaster recovery process. DAIP helps survivors by shortening the time required to apply for assistance and reducing the number of forms that need to be completed. Survivors can also upload documents, check the status of their application, and access information and resources, all through the website.

FEMA Recoupment
Make the Road New York's Legal Department is working with families in handling their FEMA recoupment. Clients in Staten Island can call the Midland Beach office at (718) 987-5503 or the Port Richmond office at (718) 727-1222.

Northfield Community LDC: Building Violations & Open Permit Consultation
Northfield Community LDC works with Staten Island residents impacted by Sandy to resolve obstacles they face in recovering from this devastating storm. In addition to housing counseling and referrals to rehabilitation services, they assist homeowners to resolve open permit applications and violations with the NYC Department of Buildings. For more information, please contact the office at 718-442-7351 ext. 238.

9/11 Health Benefits
People exposed to the stew of toxins released when the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 can still apply for health benefits. Tens of thousands of workers, volunteers and residents who believe they are suffering from 9/11 related illnesses have until 2016 to apply for the health care they need and deserve under the World Trade Center Health Program. To apply click here or call 855-4WTC-AID.


9/15 Deadline for Flood Insurance Policyholders to Request Rev
On May 18, FEMA began mailing letters to approximately 142,000 National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders who filed claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy, offering them an opportunity to have their files reviewed. While extensions may be granted on a case by case basis, FEMA has set a September 15, 2015 deadline for policyholders to begin the intake process by phone or online. Over 7,000 policy holders have responded to the first round of letters sent on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program, offering the opportunity to re-open claims that were denied or underpaid. Approximately 15,000 claims involving engineering reports will be addressed first, although FEMA has agreed to review the claims of all Superstorm Sandy victims who suspect they were defrauded on flood insurance settlements. Resources:
- Fact Sheets on Claims Review Process: English, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Polish
- Direct inquiries: FEMA HQ Newsdesk at 202-646-3272 or Fema-News-Desk@fema.dhs.gov

August 2015 Call for Stories of Recovery from Disaster Survivors/Responders
Link 2 Health Solutions is producing a website dedicated to telling the stories of disaster event survivors and responders, in an effort to help others who have gone through a similar situation. The name of this project is, "Strength After: Stories of Recovery from Disaster Survivors and Responders." Video and photo submissions should be submitted here or emailed to ddh@mhaofnyc.org.

August 2015: Sandy Evacuees with TDAP Subsidies to Be Contacted
New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development will have a limited number of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers available to eligible Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP and TDAP-Private) applicants. There is no application for the program; HPD will be contacting people directly to invite them to apply, but everyone who meets the criteria should be looking out for the application and respond to it. Read more.
10-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this August; President Obama to Visit New Orleans
August 29, 2015 marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. Among commemorations for the anniversary will be a visit by President Obama to New Orleans from August 27-29 to meet with the mayor and residents in several neighborhoods which have been rebuilding over the past 10 years. While in the city, the President will deliver remarks on the region's rebirth and "what's possible when citizens, city and corporate leaders all work together to lift up their communities and build back in ways that make them more innovative and positioned for economic growth." FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, who has helped spearhead and coordinate many of the Administration's efforts in an " all-of-Nation approach," will join the President. A White House fact sheet provides an overview of federal recovery efforts in New Orleans, including ongoing initiatives aimed at "Restoring the Gulf Coast Economy and Ecosystem," "Supporting Education and Strengthening Schools," "Restoring Long-term Housing Options and Ensuring Affordable Rent for Low-Income Families," and other initiatives. Read more.

Mayor's Office Launches Redesigned Website Devoted to NYC Nonprofit Organizations
August 25: The Mayor's Office of Contract Services, Mayor's Office of Operations, and NYC Service partnered to redesign "Nyc.gov/nonprofits," which aims to provide a one-stop shop for nonprofit organizations and build capacity to deliver quality services to New Yorkers. The site provides information and referrals to assist nonprofits improve their management practices and helps startup visionaries effectively navigate the requirements for a successful nonprofit. Visit here.

Bronx Legionnaires' Disease Cluster Declared Over after 124 Cases Diagnosed, 12 Deceased
August 20: An outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in the South Bronx has been declared over by the Health Department, State's Wadsworth Center Laboratory, and the CDC, after the disease cluster killed 12 of the 124 cases reported from July 7 to August 3, 2015. 94 cases were treated and discharged, with all 12 of the individuals deceased identified as adults with underlying medical conditions. The laboratories have matched the Legionella strain found in the Opera House Hotel cooling tower with the strain found in patients. The Health Department continues to investigate the circumstances that led this cooling tower to become the outbreak source. On August 10, Mayor de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and NYC Council Members announced a proposal for legislation to regulate cooling towers in order to protect New Yorkers and reduce the risk of future Legionnaires' outbreaks. For more information, visit the Health Department's website.

Minor Earthquake Reported in Central New Jersey
August 14: A 2.5 magnitude earthquake was reported in Central New Jersey-2 miles north of Bernardsville, N.J., in Somerset County-around 3:41 a.m. Police received multiple calls of rumbling, but there were no immediate reports of damage. Read more.

NYT: New Dorp, Staten Island "Still Recovering from Sandy"
August 12: The New York Times collected stories of Sandy-affected residents in New Dorp on Staten Island and assessed the remaining challenges and needs of the area. Ninety percent (90%) of properties in New Dorp were affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to Nicole Romano of New Dorp Beach Civic Association's president. The article references a survey carried out in the summer of 2014 that identified 400 of 2,200 properties of New Dorp still in some form of distress related to Hurricane Sandy. Some progress has been made since last summer's survey, and many hope that the $994 million in federal funds funneled to NYC in spring of 2014 will speed recovery. Read more

DOHMH Hosts 2015 Hurricane Sandy Conference on "Translating Research into Practice"
August 10-11: The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response convened a "Hurricane Sandy Conference: Translating Research into Practice." Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, ASPR, CDC, and NIEHS funded a series of two-year research grants that examine long-term recovery of health systems and communities in areas of the country hard hit by the storm. As the projects near completion, the two-day conference aimed to share research outcomes and products, and to discuss next steps for translating the research findings into public health policy and practice.  The meeting was open to the public and brought together the ASPR, CDC, and NIEHS awardees, other disaster and public health researchers, public health policy and disaster preparedness thought leaders, policy makers and practitioners, representatives from community groups, and members of impacted communities. Read more.

PND: NY Charity Bureau Chief Says Fraud Is "Surprisingly Common"
August 10: Philanthropy News Digest highlights a recent New York Nonprofit Media report where James G. Sheehan, chief of the New York State Attorney General's Charities Bureau, claimed that embezzlement and fraud is "surprisingly common" among charities in the state. Although "an extreme outlier," the National Children's Leukemia Foundation was sued by the attorney general's office in late July for allegedly using only $57,541 of the $9.7 million it raised from donors for charitable purposes. Sheehan told NYNM that the issues arise even at organizations that seem to be otherwise ethically run. Read more.

NYT: The Cost of Natural Disasters
August 5: The New York Times compares the expenditures for different types of disaster in each region of the U.S. The report states that the U.S. foots a multi-billion dollar bill every year for the economic and insured losses incurred from natural disasters. In 2014, the costs reached $25 billion with certain regions of the country more prone to disaster than others. Watch a video breaking down expenditures for natural disasters by region here.

CNN: A Newly Developed Vaccine Against Ebola Virus Was Found "Highly Effective"
August 3: A newly developed vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus has been found "highly effective" by the World Health Organization (WHO) and could help prevent the disease's spread in current and future outbreaks. Trials of the VSV-EBOV vaccine began in March in Guinea (one of three West African nations at the center of the current outbreak) and have shown such promise that this week WHO decided to extend immediate vaccination to "all people at risk." Read more.

Mayor's Fund Secures $30M Partnership to Support Mental Health Services
July 30: The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and the Corporation for National and Community Service announced a $30 million public-private partnership to advance the City's vision of transforming the delivery of mental health care services. The partnership will support the implementation of the new Connections to Care program in collaboration with the Center for Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which will help integrate mental health services into programs already serving low-income communities. Read more.

FEMA Produces Video on Home Elevations: "Using Universal Design in Disaster Recovery"
July 29: FEMA's New York Sandy Recovery Office worked with external stakeholders to produce a 6-minute long informational video about the impact of home elevation on accessibility. Throughout Hurricane Sandy recovery, many homeowners are facing the decision to elevate their homes to prevent potential damage in future flood events, but this presents special challenges for people with disabilities. During recovery from a disaster, disability advocates promote the use of "universal design." Universal design is planning space with accommodations such as elevators or lifts, to assist anyone, with or without a disability, particularly when the home is elevated. Watch the video here.

9/11 Responders/Survivors in WTC Health Program Is Only Partial Population
July 29: Fourteen years after 9/11, the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is still working to lesson major public health concerns for the thousands of responders and survivors who were exposed to the health hazards in the aftermath of the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse on Sept. 11, 2001. Responders and survivors who were present in the impacted area are still developing illnesses related to their exposures and many have yet to enroll in the NIOSH-administered World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. An EHS Today article suggests that the number of people enrolled in the program does not reflect the full population of responders and survivors exposed to WTC-derived contaminants. Read more.

Brooklyn Daily: Build It Back Elevations Ramp Up in Gerritsen Beach
July 24: The Brooklyn Daily covers the start of several elevation and repair projects at more than three dozen Gerritsen Beach homes through the city's Build It Back recovery program. Thousands more throughout Brooklyn are set to begin in the near future. The federally funded, city-run program's projects aim to elevate many one- and two-family homes several feet above ground level to comply with new FEMA guidelines for coastal neighborhoods. Read more.

Health Dept.: West Nile Virus Found in Mosquitoes in New Dorp Beach
July 23: Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were found in New Dorp Beach, where residents have complained about insect infestations following Hurricane Sandy, the Health Department said on Tuesday. The infected mosquitoes were recently found in Miller Field, near New Dorp Lane, according to the Health Department. Read more.

Maps Visualize a Flooded NYC if Sea Levels Rose 20 Feet
July 16: Interactive "Surging Seas" maps created by Climate Central depict what New York City would look like if global temperatures rose 2 degrees by the end of the century. The maps show much of the city's major infrastructure flooded from an approximately 20-foot sea level rise. Several mitigation projects to respond to sea level rises include Bjarke Ingels' "Dry Line," a ten-mile area in lower Manhattan, which include reconfiguring park spaces and installing deployable walls. Read more.

Mayor de Blasio and NYC Service Launch Volunteer Mobile Application
June 30: Mayor de Blasio and NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin announced the launch of the NYC Service Volunteer App for iPhone users, which allows users to discover NYC service opportunities on the go, according to their interests, skills, and schedules, and apply straight from the app. Every Volunteer Match opportunity will also be available on nyc.gov/service, increasing the number of volunteer opportunities on the city's website by 60 percent.

American Red Cross Launches the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign
The American Red Cross and its partners have launched an initiative that aims to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25% in five years with the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. The Red Cross is asking every household in America to take two simple steps that can save lives: checking or installing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. Join the campaign as a volunteer by contacting a local Red Cross chapter. Learn more.

NYC Emergency Management Releases "The Path Forward" Strategic Plan
NYC Emergency Management showcased the agency's strategic plan, "The Path Forward: A Roadmap for NYC Emergency Management" to keep New York City ready, support its communities, share important information, and continue to support New York City agencies and partners. Highlights from the 2014 calendar year included 2,948 incidents monitored across the five boroughs, 892 emergency responses, over 55 interagency emergency plans and protocols to guide the City's response to incidents, 1,386 Notify NYC  messages, and 54,000 New Yorkers reached through the Ready New York program. Read the report here.
9/11 Families Call for Removal of Victim Remains from Basement Museum, Fearing Leaks
August 25: Families of 9/11 firefighters and WTC victims are calling for the immediate removal of remains from the basement of the 9/11 Museum following reports of possible leaks in the slurry wall that holds back the Hudson River at the WTC site. Advocates are asking for the remains to be moved immediately to the above-ground pavilion and placed in a permanent plaza-level tomb. For over ten years, families have begged the city not to house their loved ones remains in such a vulnerable location. Read more.

Sen. Gillibrand Calls for Permanent Extension of the Zadroga Act for 9/11 First Responders
August 11: Sen. Kristen Gillibrand joined the bipartisan call for Congress to permanently extend the law providing medical monitoring and treatment for 9/11 rescue workers, saying they need reassurance that their healthcare will not be cut. Gillibrand stated that Congress has moral obligation to continue to provide care and compensation to survivors and their families: "Our first responders answered the call of duty when our nation was under attack, and deserve to be treated by Congress as the veterans they really are. We cannot abandon the men and women who now suffer as a result of their sacrifice, and must pass a permanent extension of the programs they rely upon. " Read more. Other news related to the extension include:
Number of Ground Zero Responders with 9/11-Linked Cancers Hits 3,700
August 9: The rising toll of Ground Zero responders and others afflicted with 9/11-linked cancers has hit 3,700, including 1,100 firefighters, 2,134 police officers and other Ground Zero responders, and 467 downtown workers and residents. Many survivors show more than one type of cancer. The FDNY's chief medical officer, Dr. David Prezant, said that since 9/11 over 2,100 firefighters and EMS personnel have retired on disability with World Trade Center-related illnesses, mostly lung disease and cancer. Read more.

NYC Council Bill Aims to Strengthen Communication Infrastructure Against Severe Weather
July 24: The NYC Council passed legislation proposed by Councilman Mark Treyger to strengthen the telecommunications infrastructure against future storms. During the Hurricane Sandy, power outages and flooding at critical communication hubs caused many people to emerge from the storm without phone, cable, or internet access. Although the city sent out frequent online and television updates about storm recovery efforts, this information was not able to get to those who needed it most. The legislation aims to address these core infrastructure concerns that affected over 2 million telecom customers in New York City during the storm. Read more.

NYC Council Approves Sandy Recovery Amendment on Zoning Issues in City Rebuild Efforts
July 22: The NY City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises approved a "Special Regulations for Neighborhood Recovery" amendment which will introduce special zoning rules that apply specifically to Sandy-damaged residences in targeted areas within the flood zone so that Build it Back can speed up the pace of resilient building in the Rockaways, south Queens, south Brooklyn, and Staten Island. According to City Councilman Donovan Richards, chairman of the subcommittee, the amendment "simplifies and expedites the process of elevating and/or reconstructing one- and two-family homes." The amendment will also establish a new zoning envelope for narrow and shallow lots to allow appropriate contextual new construction in these waterfront neighborhoods. Read more.

9/11 Survivors in Every U.S. State Are Still Dying As A Result Of Attack-Related Illnesses
July 20: HNGN reports that while the majority of 9/11 respondents and survivors live in New York and New Jersey (4,515 and 379, respectively), every state in the U.S. now has at least one person battling cancer or another illness related to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) announced Monday that more than $1.3 billion has been distributed to 5,636 claimants still suffering from an illness resulting from being present at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or the Shanksville, Pa., crash site on the day of the attacks. First responders such as police officers and firefighters account for 91 percent of those battling an illness, VCF said. Eighteen percent who have been awarded compensation have been diagnosed with cancer. Read more.

WP: SBA Still Unprepared to Handle Disasters
July 13: This Washington Post article reviews a study by the Government Accountability Office which shows that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is still not adequately prepared to help small businesses or homeowners with recovery loans if a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy happens again. The report examined SBA loan programs mandated by Congress in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and addressed criticism of the agency's slow response to Hurricane Sandy. Despite a 21-day turnaround goal, it took an average of 45 days to process disaster loan requests after Sandy, with 38 days for financing requests to cover economic losses. SBA officials responded by stating that an overwhelming demand and limited timeframe to prepare staff and resources after Sandy explains the delay. Read more.

GAO: Additional Planning, Data Collection Could Improve FEMA Workforce Management
July 9: FEMA is addressing long-standing workforce management challenges identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), answering to their recommendation that FEMA develop a plan that identifies workforce gaps and includes performance metrics for monitoring progress. GAO had reported barriers to completing and integrating its strategic workforce planning efforts since 2007, including workforce challenges at FEMA like low employee morale. FEMA has outlined several efforts to address these criticisms, including additional planning and better data collection. Read more.

Former FEMA Leadership Critical of National Flood Insurance Program
FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) welcomed Roy Wright as its new Director following the resignation of Brad Kisserman. Kisserman gave testimony to a House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance on June 2, where he warned that the program has become increasingly out of touch with its customers and lacks oversight from FEMA, characterizing it as "a melting iceberg." On June 9, Roy Wright, the newly appointed director of the National Flood Insurance Program, stated that the organization needs to refocus on the welfare of disaster victims and address gaps in insurance coverage. Read more:
Extreme Heat Preparedness
People living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than people living in rural regions. An increased health problem, especially for those with respiratory difficulties, can occur as a result of stagnant atmospheric conditions that trap pollutants in urban areas, thus adding unhealthy air to excessively hot temperatures. In addition, asphalt and concrete store heat longer, then gradually release it at night, which produces significantly higher nighttime temperatures in urban areas. Check out these links to learn how to keep safe during extreme heat.
Hurricane Preparedness
Atlantic hurricane season begins each year on June 1, but New York City is most at risk between August 1and November 30. Each year the New York City Emergency Management Department produces updated preparedness materials to help New Yorkers prepare for the effects of coastal storms. New York City Office of Emergency Management "Know Your Zone" hurricane awareness campaign encourages New Yorkers to find out whether they live in one of the city's six hurricane evacuation zones. For hurricane safety preparedness tips and information, or to request a Ready New York hurricane presentation, visit the Know Your Zone  website or call 311.
Flood Preparedness
Floods can have a major impact on homes, communities, and regions and can develop over a period of days or occur suddenly. SAMHSA DTAC has compiled a list of tools and resources focused on flood preparedness and response:
  • Disaster-Specific Resources-Flood
    • This SAMHSA DTAC Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series (DBHIS) installment provides preparedness and response information for floods. Materials include tip sheets, podcasts, and links to helpful agencies. To access this installment, please visit the  website.
  • Stay Safe Before, During, and After a Flood
    • One way that individuals and families can prepare for a flood is to develop their own response and communication plan. The Public Health Emergency website contains materials that can help. Links to these resources are available on the website.  
  • Floods
    • This Federal Emergency Management Agency Ready.gov webpage includes flood-specific preparedness, response, and recovery information. There is also a special section highlighting tools and resources for spring flooding. Visit the website to learn more.
  • Strengthening Your Emotional Well-Being Ahead of the Flood
    • Individuals may experience distress when anticipating and preparing for a flood. This American Psychological Association article offers tips to manage flood-related anxiety and improve overall physical and behavioral health. Access the article here.

Active Shooter Incident Preparedness
There are a multitude of resources available to help prompt discussion on how to increase safety at houses of worship and address the potential for copycat threats. Resources:
OCHA Hashtag Standards for Emergencies Manual
The United National Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs has released this resource to encourage proactive standardization of Twitter hashtags; emergency responders may be able to reduce a big-data challenge and better leverage crowdsourced information for operational planning and response.
Coney Island Community Event: Sandy Flood Insurance Re-Examinations
August 31, 2015
JCC of Greater Coney Island
3001 West 37th Street
The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger are hosting an important community event to provide information and advice on the re-examination of Sandy flood insurance claims filed to FEMA NFIP. NYLAG will be offering free one-on-one legal consultations on a walk-in basis. Email stormhelp@nylag.org for more information.

New York Presbyterian Annual Emergency Management Symposium 
September 9, 2015
Wednesday, September 9, 2015  
Pace University Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts
3 Spruce Street, New York, NY 10038
Save the date for a full day of learning and discussion on emergency management and preparedness. Lunch will be served. Questions should be directed to Al Villacara via alv9023@nyp.org. RSVP to Wanda Coleman via wac9045@nyp.org with your name, title, organization, phone number, and email address. See the Save the Date and Agenda for more details.

Voices of September 11:
Resilience Symposium "Knowledge to Practice: Pathways to Long-Term Healing"
September 9, 2015
8:00am Registration; 9:00am-5:00pm
Marriott Downtown Hotel
85 West St.
New York, NY
Voices of September 11 invites all mental health professionals, emergency managers, those working in the fields of trauma and victims' services, as well as 9/11 family members, responders and survivors, to a Resilience Symposium on "Knowledge to Practice: Pathways to Long-Term Healing." The event features presentations led by accomplished subject matter experts, clinicians, and researchers in the fields of trauma and mental health.

Voices of September 11 hosts 14th Annual Day of Remembrance Information Forum
September 10, 2015
8:00am Registration; 9:00am-5:00pm
Marriott Downtown Hotel
85 West Street
New York, NY
Voices of September 11 invites all mental health professionals, emergency managers, those working in the fields of trauma and victims' services, as well as 9/11 family members, responders and survivors, to the 14th Annual Day of Remembrance Information Forum. The Forum includes presentations on the World Trade Center Health Program and reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, and interactive workshops led by accomplished clinicians, authors, and researchers. This event is free of charge for 9/11 family members, responders and survivors.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training
September 10, September 18, and October 7, 2015
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) will be hosting MHFA trainings, an evidence-based training to empower non-mental health professionals to better identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness. The one-day, 8-hour training will cover mental health topics such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance use. You only have to attend one session of the dates offered.

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