STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Staten Islanders who are still finding it difficult to navigate through the confusing and stressful rebuilding process after Hurricane Sandy found some relief on Saturday during a resource fair at New Dorp High School. There, families, individuals and small businesses received free disaster recovery information.
Organized at the invitation of Borough President James P. Molinaro and through Operation HOPE, a financial empowerment nonprofit, and sponsored by the American Red Cross, Saturday's event offered a variety of services with experts on hand to answer a host of questions.
Some of these include: Deferring payments and renegotiating loans; obtaining copies of documents; filing and resolving insurance claims; completing home inspections; creating a logical financial recovery budget and EITC refunds; foreclosure prevention; selecting and managing a home repair contractor, and completing FEMA and SBA documents.
Representatives from Operation HOPE, American Red Cross, JPMorgan Chase, FEMA, United Way, SBA and New York VOAD Agencies were also there to offer advice for anyone still having trouble repairing their homes or businesses.
"The fact is that this never happened to us before. There's no book to go by, so something like this will be helpful to Staten Islanders," said Borough President James P. Molinaro."
Billed as "A Day of Financial Recovery With Dignity," Operation HOPE has held similar events for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in New Jersey, said Mary H. Ehrsam, CEO of Operation HOPE New York. Her organization has been operating throughout the five boroughs for over 10 years.
"Our mission is to work with families, individuals and small businesses to help them to a place in life where they can return to financial dignity," she said.
But her group also plans on sticking around for the long haul. " It's not a short term initiative," she said, noting that her group will be providing services for Hurricane Sandy victims over the next two years. Operation HOPE also has a 24/7 hotline set up where individuals can be paired with experts who can help answer their questions.
The event took place Saturday, March 23rd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New Dorp High School, and was free to anyone looking for help.