Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $38.5 million program that New York State will oversee in conjunction with Catholic Charities that will provide over 200 service coordinators to assist individuals and families affected by Superstorm Sandy recover and access essential resources. The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) provides supplemental federal funding to states, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Tribes after a Presidential disaster declaration that includes Individual Assistance.
The DCMP provides funding for a partnership between a disaster case manager and a disaster survivor to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the survivor with a single point of contact to access a broad range of resources. The process involves an assessment of the survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs, development of a goal-oriented plan that outlines the steps necessary to achieve recovery, organization and coordination of information on available resources that match the disaster-caused needs, and the monitoring of progress toward reaching the recovery plan goals, and, when necessary, survivor advocacy.
“As recovery from Sandy continues, we’re entering a critical phase where direct one-on-one service will provide survivors with the assistance they need to get their lives back in order,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Disaster Case Management Program covers every facet of recovery assistance needed by individuals and families to ensure that those hit hard by the storm have their needs addressed efficiently and effectively. Working with partners like Catholic Charities, we will bring more resources directly to the people who need help the most.”
“Hurricane Sandy was absolutely devastating, physically and emotionally,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “The state, city and surrounding counties have done a remarkable job making assistance available to those impacted by this storm, but sometimes those affected can be overwhelmed by what it takes to get back on their feet. Having a single point of contact to explain the breadth of services and help navigate the system can be a tremendous help to individuals and families trying to recover from Sandy's devastation. Approximately 200 case managers will be a portal of help and hope for those impacted as they begin to rebuild their homes and lives.”
DCMP coordinators, who will be stationed at locations in the 13 hardest-hit counties, can be a lifeline for people coping with Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, but who may be unfamiliar with the range of services currently being offered by local, State and Federal government.
Service coordinators are both advocates and expediters for those affected by Sandy. They first assess if clients have unmet needs related to the storm. If people qualify, they will be assigned a disaster case manager to serve as a single point of contact for all government- and insurance-related assistance. Then, based on interactions with the client, the service coordinators create individualized disaster recovery plans, including advocating for access to needed services, coordinating benefits, and making referrals for services outside the scope of disaster case management. Existing Sandy-related services for individuals and families range from direct federal and state grants and Small Business Association loans to insurance advocacy and referrals to the range of not-for-profit and voluntary programs that have been established.
The Superstorm Sandy DCMP is modeled after a similar program run by Catholic Charities in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. For Sandy assistance, Catholic Charities will either provide the service coordinators directly, or sub-contract them out to locally-based not-for-profit agencies that have demonstrated experience with this type of work, such as the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, Good Shepherd Services, Lutheran Social Service and the Center for Independence of the Disabled. Catholic Charities will also subcontract to several organizations, such as the Greater Chinatown Community Association and El Centro del Immigrante, which can provide these services in additional languages so that no New York community gets left behind.
Eligibility is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance. Those impacted by the storm can call 1-855-258-0483 to find out the location and contact information for their nearest service provider. A full list can also be found online atwww.catholiccharitiesny.org.
The State anticipates that more than 10,000 people will take advantage of this service. Already, more than 250,000 New York residents have applied to FEMA for disaster-related services following Sandy. According to FEMA, in past disasters, roughly 5% of FEMA applicants take advantage of disaster case management services.