Free Storm Clinic Helps Superstorm Sandy Victims
Organizations that sent representatives to the Far Rockaway Sandy Relief: Free Clinic on January 19th included FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and the city’s Department of Health, which answered questions about mold mitigation.
There was also legal assistance from the New York City Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society, as well as home owner’s and renter’s assistance.
“We partnered with Margert because we wanted to (provide) access to all in a stress free and easy environment,” said Shira Gans, the program and relationship director for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Javier Silva, also of the Federal Reserve, added that the “benefit of this is if someone goes to speak with the SBA and they are told they need to go see FEMA and come back, or that they need an attorney, the benefit is it’s all provided under one roof.”
Representatives from the American Group Psychotherapy Association were available to help with the stress and the feelings of being overwhelmed that have affected those who went through the storm.
It is not only the adults who have to cope, Dr. Madelyn Miller said, but “children are often… dealing with [these] issues and need extra help and support.”
The clinic started at 11 a.m. and within two hours 200 people had come through the doors of the Peninsula Preparatory School at St. Mary’s in Far Rockaway.
According to Joseph Barden, the executive director for Margert, approximately 50 percent headed to Margert counselors.
“Their primary concern is guidance and assistance in navigating the maze of government assistance that is available,” said Barden. “It’s very difficult.”
He added that Margert’s counselors “lead them through the maze.”
As a Rockaway organization, Margert has been on the ground providing emergency flood repairs to homeowners since Sandy hit the Peninsula.
Barden’s advice now is for residents not to miss the January 28th deadline to file for FEMA assistance.
“I strongly encourage people to meet the deadline,” said Barden. “They extended it once or twice already. I wouldn’t count on them extending it again.”
The Far Rockaway clinic was just one in a series the Federal Reserve of New York will be holding.
One was already held in Staten Island and the final two will be held next month for Brooklyn and New Jersey residents.