The Staten Island Interfaith Disaster Response Coalition, which continues to grow in numbers and influence, agreed on Wednesday to advocate for the extension of several crucial relief deadlines for Sandy survivors.
The group was among those requesting that FEMA extend its deadline to pay for temporary housing. It has now been extended to Jan. 26.
The coalition also is asking for a 120-day extension on: the FEMA application deadline, currently Jan. 28; the city demolition program for red-tagged homes that passed on Jan. 7, and the city Rapid Repairs program application period, which ends on Jan. 14.
Additionally, the coalition wants the city to develop a plan for mold remediation and for affordable housing.
The coalition is reaching out to city, state and federal politicians and agencies for their support and, as part of the effort, coalition representatives will speak at a City Council public hearing on the City’s Response to Sandy at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at City Hall in Manhattan.
The coalition will meet Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Church to prepare for the hearing. It also will hold its regular meeting at noon on Wednesday, when members will start looking into National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster long-term recovery guidelines and figuring out if the coalition wants to use an existing Island non-profit or establish a new one as the main vehicle for their long-term Sandy recovery efforts.
Ira and Joyce Goldstein of the Hurricane Sandy Trauma Counseling Project, Justin Bowen, FEMA coordinator of Long Term Recovery Services, and Daniel Coates of Make the Road New York were among those who made presentations at Wednesday’s meeting.
The coalition is sponsoring multi-lingual FEMA Assistance Days, and Project Hope Counseling and Referral Services and free health screenings every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 o’clock for the remainder of January at the Olympia Activity Center, 1128 Olympia Blvd., Midland Beach. Walk-ins will be accepted, but for appointments, call 718-448-1544, ext. 103.
Make the Road New York and Occupy Sandy are providing Free Legal Clinics on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. at the same location.
Attendance at Wednesday’s meeting was over 50 people, about double the amount the previous week, and included representatives of FEMA, the American Red Cross, the New York State Health Foundation, New York State Nurses Association, Staten Island Mental Health Society, New York City Human Rights Commission, New York City Comptroller’s Office, the Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island, Richmond Senior Housing, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Where-To-Turn, Occupy Sandy and the Building Bridges Coalition of Staten Island.
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