"If you were someone who rented, or someone didn't have, who didn't work, or didn't have much, you were actually cared for, but if you actually did work, and you did, you know, have insurance, it seemed like things were, didn't necessarily work in your favor. So it's almost like, it really, it almost didn't pay to be a hard working person....because we were working, we actually lost assistance because we had flood insurance, we had homeowner's insurance, we worked, and it was because of all that, it seemed like we were limited to any assistance we could get."
Posts from the ‘Coalitions’ Category
"Volunteers would say, 'oh, she doesn't need that much stuff. People are lying to get more stuff and hoard it,' which is upsetting to see, especially because in the beginning, there were more donations than we could have ever given away. But pretty quickly sort of all these internal politics and--- maybe what I would think of as fear of people who are poor or fear of people who need stuff, you know? That was all coming out and being expressed in ways that weren't great by volunteers. So it's hard to talk to people in their apartments and feel like we didn't have the capacity to bring them things, but also knowing that they were going to come and have to wait in a line that you would not want anybody to have to wait in."
"Responding to people in need was exactly the calling of Occupy Wall Street-- to be the first people on the ground in our communities to stand up and say we’re not waiting for FEMA, we’re not waiting for the mayor’s office, we’re not waiting for the Red Cross or for Wall Street or for anybody to come and save us. The cavalry isn’t coming, the cavalry is us. And so we immediately put out the call and there wasn’t an infrastructure formally in place to receive that volunteerism, to receive that support so we built it on the spot. I mean literally three days I spent trapped in my room, I didn’t leave, I didn’t sleep much at all I just sat by my computer and frantically built websites and Google voice accounts and communicated with disaster relief experts and countless phone calls to organizers on the ground who were driving around in trucks and the Rockaways, we pay accounts and just a flurry of infrastructure, online infrastructure and offline too that we were setting up. And it happened organically because we didn’t descend on communities, we emerged from within them and these are our neighbors, these are our friends, these are our family members."
"The data was not looking good— a lot of it hadn’t been digitized.A lot of the way data was collected, various formats, various granularities, it wasn’t standardized, so even in common boxes you could have somebody putting somebody’s phone number. And, you know, that type of information is sensitive. Maybe it’s not necessarily a security issue, but you know it can certainly be sensitive. We’re actually meeting on Monday to look at some of the data. I think we’re just going to make sure every single record has nothing personally identifiable and then we’ll post it and make it public."
"And then you take a look at something like the South Ferry Subway Station, which was built for $540 million and opened in 2009 or 2010 and it flooded floor to ceiling like a fish tank. So, how do we prevent against that in the future and how do we make it more resilient?"
"Well there’s several levels of building resilience. So one thing that our current code handles very comprehensively is that a building be resilient enough that after an event, people can get out of it safely. They can safely evacuate. So generally that’s defined as 90 minutes, maybe two hours. What makes the resiliency effort different for New York City is that we’re trying to lengthen the amount of time that the building could be habitable so that people are not forced to evacuate. And this is important for a couple of reasons. One is people do not like to leave their homes—they’re worried about looting, they’re worried about safety, they don’t have places to go. So they like to stay home. And we saw after Sandy, a lot of people living in unsafe conditions because they did not want to leave. Second, the city only has limited capability to actually shelter people—you know, at shelters—and so the more people you can keep in a building, you know, the easier it is for the city to handle the people that really don’t have any option. So one level is just the emergency egress and just getting out safely. Another level might be what we call survivability."
"Spaces where it was free reign, where the community could organize what it needed, as it needed, seem to create the opportunity for resiliency and health. Here with the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, there with churches -- mostly churches and like a couple of businesses. I've never thought so well of churches. ... The thing that the churches gave to us was space to organize and assess our needs and then deliver upon them. And there are no other spaces like that, no other spaces like that."
"And it was pretty frightening, because a disaster takes place and an inevitable outcome is that a lot of organizations that don’t normally communicate with each other are going to communicate with each other, which is abide by the nature of a disaster."
"So they went in, they opened the doors, people immediately came in to start charging their phones and figure out what was going on, and both people who were living in the neighborhood and in the houses came in, and then volunteers, who were I think literally biking around the neighborhood looking for a place to help, found our doors being open, and so pretty quickly people started cooking, dropping off supplies, different kinds of providers showed up, and because we had this physical space, and because we had a staff that was local, and because we had a social media presence, we were pretty quickly at the—at the center of a lot of different supply and demand."