Many NY and NJ residents who lived through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy have wondered aloud, "where did all that money raised by the concert go??" The "12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief", held at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and promoted with big name rock stars, aired worldwide and was promised to bring immediate assistance to affected communities and families.
A little over a month later, just under half of the $50 million raised has now been dispersed. The money raised came from concert ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, telephone/web donations, and concert merchandise.
A round of grants from funds raised by the “12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief,” has just been dispersed to a wide range of assistance groups, organizations, and agencies in NY and NJ.
Of the $20.2 million granted thus far:
- 29% has gone to provide individual and emergency assistance, such as water, blankets, cash grants and organizational support in the immediate wake of the storm; also includes $2 million grant to New York City Non-Profit Recovery Loan Program.
- 27% to groups offering housing assistance, such as home repairs and renovations, mold remediation, rental assistance and moving fees.
- 18% to benefits/legal counseling which includes helping people apply for FEMA and other benefits (unemployment insurance, food stamps), assistance navigating insurance claims, filing appeals for insurance/FEMA denials, and other legal assistance.
- 13% to medical and mental health support, including counseling services, nursing care and medical supplies.
- 10% to food pantries and soup kitchens which provided hundreds of thousands of meals to storm victims.
- 2% to groups helping people find/train for new jobs; and,
- 1% to education programs that provided tutoring to displaced students and day care services.
The Sandy Relief Fund Committee approved the following grants worth more than $2.2 million from concert funds:
New York City
Accion is the largest non-profit microfinance network in the United States, and they’ve been providing microloans to businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This grant will enable Accion to hire three additional temporary loan officers to handle the influx of loan requests caused by Sandy, ensuring that money continues to be loaned in a timely and efficient fashion, helping to support impacted communities.
Child Mind Institute
New York City
Since mid-November 2012, the Child Mind Institute has been responding to requests from the New York City Department of Education to deploy clinicians to schools in areas especially hard-hit by Sandy including Breezy Point, Far Rockaway and Staten Island, reaching thousands of students in more than 100 public elementary, middle and high schools. This grant will allow them to continue their outreach of mental health services to schools in all five city boroughs, provide educational workshops for parents and training for teachers and school personnel.
Circulo de la Hispanidad
Long Beach, NY
Founded in 1980 as a grass roots organization serving the immigrant community in Long Beach, Long Island, Circulo de la Hispanidad provides programs focused on housing, social justice, domestic violence, youth, and employment. Circulo will use $50,000 from this grant to establish an emergency fund to help low-income clients make security deposits or initial rent for short-term leases, and an additional $50,000 for a job-placement counselor to help clients who lost their jobs or who require skills training/assistance in securing employment. The final $25,000 will go towards repairing three of Circulos Long Beach properties which provided temporary housing for homeless families.
New York City
Dozens of families who were living on the ground floors of NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) residences had their homes completely destroyed by the storm. These families have been staying in emergency shelters, hotels or with families for the past 2 months. As NYCHA continues to bring more housing units online through its accelerated renovation and repair process, Community Solutions will use these funds to help 30 families afford the move-in costs and household supplies (beds, furniture, clothing) needed to make a fresh start.
CYS (Seagate) Hurricane Relief Fund
New York City
Hundreds of homes in Seagate suffered flooding and subsequent mold damage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. These funds will help CYS continue their mold remediation efforts on more than 100 homes and allow them to purchase other needed supplies for families as they rebuild.
The Disability Opportunity Fund
As a result of Hurricane Sandy, many families with children who have disabilities have lost their homes and are in need of temporary housing. This grant will support their efforts to provide appropriate furnishings for families in their temporary homes.
Family & Children’s Services of Monmouth County
Monmouth County, NJ
Established in 1909, Family & Children’s Services of Monmouth County is the oldest social services agency in Monmouth County, serving approximately 18,000 individuals annually. This grant will go towards their emergency relief fund, which provides assistance to uninsured families who must replace clothes, furnishings, and household appliances that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, in addition to nursing care/medical case management for 300 clients who were impacted by the storm.
Feel Better Kids
Located in Rockville Center, Feel Better Kids helps children who are seriously ill or disabled, and they serve up to 75 families each year. Following Sandy, they saw a dramatic increase in the number of people who needed help. This grant will allow Feel Better Kids to support another 50-70 families affected by Sandy by providing them with clothing, blankets/bedding supplies, durable medical goods and pharmaceutical products, as well as transportation to/from doctors’ appointments.
Funding to help FOR continue their efforts to “muck and gut” approximately 400 homes with severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in the 11694 zip code.
Good Shepherd Services
New York City
Good Shepherd’s hurricane relief efforts are concentrated in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a low-income community left devastated by the storm. Funding from this grant will enable Good Shepherd to provide support to people seeking food, warm clothing, baby supplies, medical supplies and rental assistance. In addition, Good Shepherd will be able to provide short-term trauma counseling via social workers and a staff psychologist to clients in need.
HOPES CAP, Inc.
Hudson County, NJ
HOPES CAP, Inc. was established in 1964 and offers a wide range of services to residents of low-income communities. This grant will enable HOPES CAP to provide direct cash assistance to more than 200 individuals to help them replace furnishings destroyed by Sandy and to provide other needed services such as food and transportation assistance. Funds will also be used for employment referral and assistance preparing income tax forms.
Korean American Sandy Relief Committee of New Jersey
Bergen & Hudson Counties, NJ
The Korean American Sandy Relief Committee of New Jersey is a collaboration of six community organizations serving Korean-American families. This grant will allow them to help 150 families apply for FEMA benefits, provide 120 people with primary medical care with a Korean-speaking physician, and provide 50 people with individual psychotherapy sessions for stress-related issues.
Legal Services of New Jersey
This funding to Legal Services of New Jersey will provide additional staffing to help clients navigate the insurance claims process, appeal denials from FEMA and to protect clients who may have been victimized by predatory activity, such as contractor scams.
The Long Beach Christmas Angel, Inc.
Run by volunteers, the agency works directly with social workers in the school district to identify families in need of help. Modest cash grants help families in crisis with funds for housing and home repairs, medical and utility bills, basic furniture and appliances, and community college tuition. This grant will allow Long Beach Christmas Angel to provide another 110 families in crisis with emergency relief.
Long Beach MLK
MLK’s mission is to improve the well-being of children, parents, families and seniors in this community, and serves about 2,000 families per year. This grant will enable Long Beach MLK to provide hot meals to 150 seniors living in public housing for the next six months, and will cover the cost of a full-time caseworker who will provide counseling on insurance claims, job assistance, landlord/tenant issues, legal service referrals and other critical services.
Long Island Cares
Long Island Cares provides direct services to tens of thousands of low-income residents across Long Island each year, and they anticipate serving an additional 20,000 people in hard hit areas as a result of Hurricane Sandy. This grant will enable Long Island Cares to expand its hours at its Freeport storefront center; purchase a mobile outreach unit to assist more families; and provide cash assistance in the form of small grants to families in need.
Mental Health Association of Monmouth County
Monmouth County, NJ
MHAMC provides professional health counseling services to adults, children, and families across New Jersey, with a focus on Monmouth County, and is one of the largest mental health care providers in the state. With more than 10,000 homes destroyed in the county, thousands of residents are experiencing extreme stress due to Hurricane Sandy.
This grant will allow MHAMC to provide mental health counseling services to approximately 2,000 individuals impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Moonachie/Little Ferry Relief Fund
Bergen County, NJ
Up to $100,000
The towns of Moonachie and Little Ferry sit on the banks of the Hackensack River. When Sandy surged, the river overflowed, flooding the towns with not just river water, but also sea water and sewage, causing severe damage.
There are two large trailer parks in the area that are home to more than 400 families. Flood waters from Sandy submerged the insulation contained in the undercarriage of many of these homes, causing serious mold issues. As part of a pilot project, the Moonachie/Little Ferry Relief Fund will remove and replace the moldy insulation in 10 trailer park homes; if successful, the remaining funds will be used to complete work on the other damaged homes in the development, and potentially expand to the second park.
Newark Emergency Family Services
Newark Emergency Family Services (NEFS) is a non-profit that helps low-income families and individuals by providing food, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities during times of crisis. This grant will allow NEFS to help approximately 600 low-income individuals/families who were affected by Sandy by providing emergency services, such as security deposits for new housing, temporary shelter, assistance with utilities when threatened with discontinuation of service, and food/supplies/staffing for the NEFS drop-in center which serves homeless individuals.
Founded in 1983, Pesach Tikvah provides mental health services to people who are struggling with emotional, developmental and psychiatric disabilities. They currently serve more than two dozen clients who were seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy and require ongoing support from a trauma specialist. This funding will allow them to provide continuing mental health care to those clients for the next 5 months.
Rockaway Beach Surf Club
In the days following Hurricane Sandy, members of the Rockaway Beach Surf Club turned their clubhouse into a clearinghouse for volunteers and donations. Most recently, they’ve coordinated the distribution of 400 sheets of drywall, 385 buckets of joint compound and other critical building materials sent by an anonymous donor. They’ve also established a house-by-house registry of what people need to rebuild, and are continuing to collect information and connect donors with families in need. This grant will help to cover some of their overhead costs, so that they can continue to help the Rockaways rebuild.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Ocean County, NJ
In operation for more than 25 years, the St. Paul food pantry provides clients with a three-day supply of emergency food. As the number of visitors to the pantry has increased 20% since Hurricane Sandy, this funding will allow them to supplement their current inventory with varied and nutritionally balanced selections for their clients.
Visiting Nurse Service of New York
New York City
VSNNY offers a breadth of services from early childhood education to senior care, with offices in all five boroughs. Some of their facilities suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy, and this grant will go toward replacing two mental health satellite offices in The Rockaways, which treat more than 200 elderly and mentally ill residents. In addition, VNSNY will be able to reopen their childhood center which serves 75 mothers with infant children.
New York City
Since Hurricane Sandy, three chapters of YouthBuild USA have been working with FEMA on rehab projects on homes in Long Island and Far Rockaway. This grant will allow YouthBuild USA to hire a team leader and assistant, enabling them to supervise a team of 20 workers who in turn will perform construction work -- including gutting and cleanup -- helping families get back into their homes.
While these dispersements are significant, another $25 million remains to be distributed, while hundreds of families remain unable to return to their homes. Others are still without heat, others have roof, mold, and tree damage uncovered by insurance for various reasons. This writer will continue to track the concert funds until all the money has been distributed.