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

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.


Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div.
Executive Director


NYDIS Welcomes Two New Staff Team Members
In February, NYDIS warmly welcomed:
  • David Allen, Housing Placement Coordinator
  • Inna Mikhaylova, Office Assistant

NYDIS is Hiring
NYDIS opened 3 new positions, please forward this posting to all qualified candidates. 
Housing Caseworkers: NYDIS is hiring Housing Caseworkers for our Superstorm Sandy Temporary Housing Service sites in Brooklyn and Queens. This is a full-time position - Immediate Availability. Former Sandy Disaster Case Managers are encouraged to apply.

NYDIS/DOHMH Host First NYC Faith Sector CPP Advisory Board Meeting
Convened by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Emergency Preparedness & Response and NYDIS our new NYC Faith Sector Community Preparedness Program Advisory Board will meet for its first meeting on February 28th in at NYDIS' Main Office. Made up of senior religious leaders from across the City, the Board will help develop initiatives to increase the disaster and public health emergency resilience of all faith communities in our city. Its first meeting will be used to explore options for how to engage faith communities in building disaster resiliency and set an agenda for upcoming trainings and a risk communication exercises a later this year - and the content for future resources and Sector plans.

For more information, click here to email NYDIS.

NYDIS Receives $250,000 in New Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable Funding 
NYDIS is pleased to announce we have received over $250K in new grants to fund financial assistance to distribute through the NYC Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable (UNR). Through applications from disaster case managers, housing advocates and legal aid, the UNR continues to provide needy New Yorkers with financial assistance for Sandy-related debts, home repairs, replacing furniture and appliances, and other related unmet needs. NYDIS has approximately $1.7 Million in our NYC Unmet Needs Fund to distribute to Sandy impacted households.

Contact NYDIS' Disaster Case Manager Eric for an unmet needs assessment at 212-669-6100.

NYDIS/TSA Offering Mental Health First Aid Certification for Religious Leaders
Offered by NYDIS and The Salvation Army in association with EmblemHealth and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. All religious leaders lay or ordained and other non-profit personnel or volunteers are encouraged to attend these very important trainings!
  • Wednesday, March 15th
  • Wednesday, April 19th
  • Wednesday, May 24th
  • Wednesday, June 14th

All trainings will be held from 8:30am-5:30pm, at EmblemHealth, 55 Water Street, New York, NY 10041. Register here.

Did SuperStorm Sandy Leave You in Debit? Do You Need a Disaster Case Manager?
Because of SuperStorm Sandy, there are many NYC families and individuals who remain in crisis. NYDIS is committed to providing disaster case management to all those with remaining unmet needs - and helping them access financial assistance, if qualified. Our work is being funded by a SSBG grant from the NY State Office of Children and Family Services.

If you, or anyone you know, needs assistance call 212-669-6100 and ask for Eric, NYDIS' Disaster Case Manager and ask if you qualify for an unmet needs assessment or financial assistance.

Stories of Recovery: A Case from NYDIS' Temporary Housing Services Program
"It's hard to find an apartment for most people in NYC - for struggling Sandy impacted homeowners it's even harder." states Meryl, a NYDIS Housing Caseworker, in NYDIS' NYC Build it Back funded Temporary Housing Services program. "A Rockaway, Queens family of seven lost their home over three years ago to Sandy. Despite an autistic child and an adult with cancer, the family had to split up. For years they lived in hotels, shelters and on couches until they were finally able to find an apartment - only to discover it was mold invested. Due to the mold, the cancer patient's health deteriorated and both the mother and a son developed severe asthma - but, the family could not afford to move again." In December, the family was referred to NYDIS by  Center for NYC Neighborhoods - we located and leased two neighboring healthy and safe apartments - the family moved-in this week, together again. NYDIS will house this family until the City finishes rebuilding their home. For more client impact stories and daily updates follow us on Facebook.

RWJ Report: Priorities for a Shared Resilience Agenda
In June 2016 NYDIS' Executive Director, Peter Gudaitis, participated in a Resilience Roundtable convened by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and RAND Corporation. The roundtable brought together 80 leading researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, from different disciplines and sectors to discuss the study and practice of resilience and the capacities of communities in disaster and identified priorities for advancing a shared resilience agenda. This report builds on the findings and implementation strategies the roundtable recommended, and is supplemented with relevant literature. Read the full report here.

SBP Resources for Homeowners
SBP (formerly St Bernard Project) has web page devoted to resources for homeowners impacted by disasters. Find downloadable PDF guides, on topics as varied and essential as mold remediation and contractor fraud, 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.

Shorefront Y Questionnaire for Sandy Survivors
Shorefront Y created this survey to identify the successes and failures of the response and recovery services offered to those affected by Superstorm Sandy. Take the survey.

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.

Visit UnmetNeedsRoundtable.org
Assistance & Statistics Reports - 2016 Annual Report
Assistance & Statistics Reports - Inception-to-Date Report as of 01.31.2017


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 are urged 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.

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Begins Payments to Group B Claimants
As of Oct. 3, the VCF issued more than 10,700 awards over the life of the program, including 9,130 awards in Group A and 1,573 awards in Group B. When combined, these awards total approximately $2.05 billion. Please visit the "How to File a Claim" page here.

Metro NY and Beyond: New Situational Awareness Platform Expands to 100+ Cities
Designed as a global prototype, the platform is comprised of dashboards designed to monitor both the day-to-day operations environment as well as disruptions in real time. Serving over 650 participants in the NY Metro area for over a year, the platform is now being expanded to over 100 cities worldwide. For access to the Metropolitan NY/ NJ/ CT Metro-OPS and the MNR, click here.

Disaster Assistance Resource
FEMA's Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) has set up a website 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.

The mission of OpenFEMA is to execute federal open data machine readable policies and standards, and to promote a culture and empower open government within FEMA. Data available includes FEMA Datasets and FEMA Library. Find more information here.

NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant Deadline - March 15, 2017
This grant is for regional organizations to conduct projects benefiting coastal communities in becoming resilient to coastal hazards and climate change. Learn more here.

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Expires in 2017
The flood insurance program is at the center of the climate change storm. And with the authorization of the program set to expire on Sept. 30, 2017, flood insurance could become a hot-button legislative issue this year. The full article can be read here.

Period for Ground Zero Workers to Seek Compensation Extended to 9/11/2018
September 12: NYT reports that "New York State is extending the period for workers and volunteers to seek medical benefits and lost wages resulting from their involvement in the rescue and recovery operations in Lower Manhattan after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001." Read more here.
Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Increasing in 2017
February 21: CNN; After 48 Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in 26 States were hit with bomb threats in the first two weeks of January, a next wave of threats followed on Presidents Days. 11 bomb threats were called in, increasing the number of JCCs threatened to 54 in 27 states. No bombs have been found, but the chaos and terror the calls have caused are real. Beyond the threats, synagogues, schools, and two Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized, and New York City subway cars have been covered with graffiti swastikas. These recent incidents dramatically showcase that hate crimes are further growing since the elections in 2016. In 2014 and 2015 the FBI reported more than 1,270 hate crime incidents targeting Jews, far more than any other religious groups. Some Jewish leaders and community members say the situation is getting worse since the 2016 elections, and have repeatedly asked for President Trump to condemn racist and anti-Semitic motivated crimes. Finally, a day after the latest threats President Trump responded after a tour at the National Museum of African American Museum and Culture "The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil." Read more related articles here.

New York Today: Documenting Hate Crimes
February 07: NY Times; The New York Times Opinion Pages are partnering with ProPublica, other news media organizations, civil-rights groups, and schools to build a database on hate crimes, called "Documenting Hate." Anna North, a staff editor at the Opinion Pages explains "We still don't have comprehensive data on basic questions about hate crimes, like how many occur every year." If you experience, witness or read about a hate crime, you can let them know about it using this form. To report an incident of bias, you can call the state hotline at 888-392-3644. Read the full article here.

Caregiving to Muslims: A Guide for Chaplains, Counselors, Healthcare & Social Workers
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; This book assists caregivers in providing culturally competent services to Muslim patients and clients. The book gives the reader a short introduction into the religion of Islam, correlates Islamic theology with psychological theories, and recommends an approach to making spiritual assessments. Additionally, the book provides a Muslim perspective on the spiritual roots of conflict, terrorism, gender issues, homosexuality, and substance abuse. Learn more about the book here.
The Importance of Social Networks for Disaster Recovery
February 13: The Conversation; The usual conversation about preparing for disasters focuses on material things, like building shelters and stockpiling food, water and batteries. But researchers, who studied the 2011 triple disaster in Japan, found that resilience - the ability to recover from shocks - mostly stems from social networks and connections to others, and not from physical infrastructure or disaster kits. Read the full article here.

Gov. Departments Should Use Existing Systems to Improve Pandemic Preparedness
February 11: United States Government Accountability Office; In this report the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns, that "the U.S. Army estimates that if a severe infectious disease pandemic were to occur today, the number of U.S. fatalities could be almost twice the total number of battlefield fatalities in all of America's wars since the American Revolution in 1776." The GAO thus recommends that the Department of Defense (DOD) should work closer with the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Homeland Security (DHS), to combine and improve existing preparedness and response guidelines and frameworks. Read the full report here.

A Refocus on Disaster Recovery
January 30: Emergency Management; This article discusses the challenges and rising costs state and local governments often face when they have not developed recovery plans before a disaster. While organizing resources effectively during and after a disaster is always complicated, this article points out, that planning for disaster - and recovery - ahead of time can help to react faster and more efficiently. Read the full article here.

Resilient Building Design in New York City
January 27: NY Times; New York architects are fortifying buildings and infrastructure against rising sea levels and coastal storms. In this article the New York Times is presenting case studies in resilient design, focused on the New York City area. 

A Guide to Flood-Resistant Building Vocabulary
January 25: NY Times; This guide walks you through some of the most important terms you are likely to encounter in flood-preparedness, and sustainable design literature. Learn more here.
NYC Emergency Management's Strategic Plan 2017 - 2021
NYC Emergency Management's first strategic plan, will outline the agency's growth and focus through 2021. This document combines NYC Emergency management's mission, charter responsibilities, and lessons learned. Read the report here.

Study: Paresthesias, Nerve Problems Linked to WTC Toxic Dust
February 20: PRNewswire; Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has long fought for 9/11 survivors, comments that new research has emerged on WTC exposure. A study published in January 2017 in the "Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine" ties WTC exposure to paresthesias, a nerve-related issue causing burning sensations, including tingling, numbness, skin crawling, and itching on hands, arms, legs, or feet. The researchers analyzed data from 3,141 patients registered with the WTC Environmental Health Center and found that, 7 to 15 years after the attacks, 56 percent reported paresthesias at enrollment. Read more here.

Sandy Victims Receive Free Home Assessments Through New Program
February 17: NY 1; A new resiliency program by The Center for NYC Neighborhoods is providing free home assessments to residents who live in high-risk flood zones. The program is being funded through the NY Governor's Office of Storm Recovery. Participants can also receive free elevation certificates, which organizers said are valued at about $700. ​Read the full article here.

Lower East Side: Moving Boilers from Basement to Roof
February 16: NY Times; After Sandy flooded the basement boiler and electrical switchgear of a low-income building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the tenants faced winter without power, heat, and hot water for weeks. In an effort to protect tenants and affordable housing in the Lower East Side, owners are fortifying buildings and infrastructure against rising sea levels and ever-more-intense storms. While in new buildings mechanical systems are being constructed at least several feet above expected flood levels, existing buildings often have to be completely restructured. Not an easy task, but a necessary one, even if it means moving an entire boiler system from the basement to the roof. Read the full article here.
Access and Functional Needs
  • Emergency Planning for People with Access and Functional Needs
    Read or Download the 2016 NYC Emergency management report on DAFN emergency planning here.
  • Emergency Shelter Training
    Learn how to assist people with disabilities, access and functional needs and help out at a DAFN Shelter in this video.

Climate Change
  • Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science 
    This guide from the United States Global Research Program presents information that is deemed important for individuals and communities to know and understand about Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches to adaptation or mitigation. This resource is available in English and Spanish. 


  • Bomb Threat Guidance
    What would you do if you received a bomb threat? This Bomb Threat Guidance from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security will help you plan and prepare for an emergency and assess received threats carefully. Click to read or download here.
  • Community Emergency Planning Toolkit
    This toolkit, provided by the NYC Citizen Corps, includes New York specific guidance for emergency planning. Learn about how New York City plans for hazards and how your community can create its own emergency plan. Download your toolkit here.
  • Disaster Philanthropy Playbook
    The Center for Disaster Philanthropy developed this playbook to help communities prepare for crises. Read more about the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook here, or download the Playbook Tip-Sheet here.

  • Engage Immigrant Communities - We Are New York: The Storm
    In partnership with City University of New York and the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, NYC Citizen Corps produced a 25-minute episode as part of the " We Are New York" series geared towards English-language learners (ELL). Learn more here. View the video here.

Flu season is underway. Below are a few tips to lower chances of catching the flu in the upcoming weeks:
  • Get plenty of sleep. If you're well rested you're less likely to become infected with the flu virus.
  • Be strict about washing hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Hands covered in germs spread colds and the flu. Make sure to scrub your hands well with soap or alcohol-based hand rub for 20 seconds.
  • Disinfect heavily touched items, such as doorknobs, remote controls, and phones.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Get your flu shot. One of the best ways to avoid catching the flu away is to make sure that you get vaccinated against it.

Learn more about how to prevent contracting the flu at flu.gov. To stay up to date on the amount of flu cases being reported in the NYC area view the CDC's weekly influenza tracker. 

Mental Health
  • Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services
    The guide is intended to provide an introduction to the topic of trauma, a discussion of why understanding and addressing trauma is important for human services programs, and a "road map" to find relevant resources. Learn more.
Climate Forum Series: Rising Above the Flood 
March 2, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay
Brooklyn, NY
Register now

Learn about different types of flooding and its causes, what New York City is doing, and how you can prepare yourself in case of a flood. Learn more here.
Caribe Wave Tsunami Warning Exercise Webinar
March 7, 12pm - 1pm EST
Caribe Wave Tsunami Warning Program
Register now

CARIBE WAVE is the annual tsunami exercise of the UNESCO Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions ( CARIBE EWS).  Its major objective is for countries, emergency management stakeholders and communities at risk to test, validate and update their tsunami response plans.

FEMA Region II Shelter-in-Place Workshop

This Workshop is intended for crisis and continuity planners from faith-based organizations, community groups, the private sector, and NGOs. The workshop will use a nuclear detonation as a 'worst case scenario' to encourage discussions and identify best practices that could be used on any other type of disaster.

Mental Health First Aid Instructor Summit 2017: Inspiration. Education. Affirmation
April 2, 2017
National Council for Behavioral Health
Seattle, Washington
Register now

At this year's summit, instructors and those new to Mental Health First Aid will come together to learn from experts on various subjects and share best practices on building a successful program.
Learn more.

Psychosocial Response to Pandemic Disasters, Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism
April 7, 2017
Institute for Disaster Mental Health
SUNY at New Paltz, NY
Register now

IDMH's 14th annual conference brings together emergency management, health, and mental health personnel. Conference attendees from these fields will learn to address the psychological aspects of complex public health emergencies, which will reduce responder and community stress and increase response efficiency. Continuing Education Credits for New York State Social Workers and Mental Health Counselors are pending review through the University of Albany School of Social Welfare and will be provided at no cost to participants.

Hurricane Virtual Tabletop Exercise
April 11, 12 & 13, 2017
Application deadline is March 14.
Emergency Management Institute
Send email to register

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) program will offer six hurricane scenario sessions. The VTTX helps communities prepare for the hurricane season using historical events and recovery actions. Content is the same each day, and participants would attend only one session. 

All trainings will be held from 12 pm - 4 pm EST. To participate, send an email to Doug Kahn or call 301-447-7645. Also, send a courtesy copy email to the Integrated Emergency Management Branch or call 301-447-1381. Additional information is available here.

Promoting Resiliency in Communities Impacted by Trauma
April 20, 2017
Voices of September 11th
Union, New Jersey
Register now

Hosted by Voices of September 11th, the symposium will feature presentations by experts and clinicians working in the field of trauma, grief and disaster mental health. The symposium invites Mental health and public health providers, emergency managers and law enforcement professionals working with victims' families, responders and survivors are encouraged to attend.

Preparedness Summit
April 25 - 28, 2017
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Atlanta, Georgia
Register now

The Preparedness Summit is a national conference organized by NACCHO, providing cross-disciplinary learning to the public health and disaster preparedness communities. The four-day annual event delivers opportunities to connect with other professionals, share research, and learn how to implement model practices to enhance capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Learn more.

National VOAD 25th Annual Conference
May 15 -18, 2017
National VOAD
Houston, Texas
Register now

NVOAD, an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster.

NYC Emergency Management Training(s)
New York State Training(s)
UN Sphere Project: Online Course on the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS)
The online course was launched in May and covers the history of the CHS, its structure and scope, the principles underpinning it, the links between the CHS and Sphere sectoral standards, and how individuals and organizations can apply the CHS. Read more .
American Red Cross-Greater New York
National Service (CNCS)
New York Cares
NYC Medical Reserve Corp
NYC Office of Emergency Management
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 4 West 43rd Street - Suite 407, New York, NY 10036. 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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Please Contact: info@nydis.org