"We started going door to door and kind of collecting as many volunteers as we could, especially who seemed like maybe they maybe had a little know-how with construction or something that would make them feel a little more at home and not completely a fish out of water in a disaster zone, and started talking to homeowners about what they needed to do to clean up and why for health reasons and for the integrity of their building and things like that."
Posts from the ‘Rockaways’ Category
"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."
"A lot of the homes were really like disaster zones and there was no one doing any kind of site safety checks and so the first thing we tried to do was go into homes before random volunteers went into them so that we could just make sure there were no oil spills, there was no natural gas fumes, there were no serious hazards beyond what you would normally see with water damage and just kind of build a relationship with the homeowner so that they weren’t in a situation where somebody came in and did half the job but then the volunteers weren’t coming back the next day and so leaving them hanging – like there was a system and we very quickly started keeping track of who we were working for, what they needed, what the sites were like, if there were any hazards, if the stairs were broken, you know. And then we noticed that nobody knew what to do about mold. We knew that mold was going to grow. We knew that we couldn’t use bleach to get rid of it. We knew people who had done that kind of work after Katrina and we knew what needed to happen. And so, that became our focus right away just because that’s actually a really serious public health issue and, you know, can really degrade the structural integrity of a home."
"So the storm happened because what God is saying to us he’s making a level playing field. And when I pour out my justice upon the good I’m going to pour it on the bad. And when I pour out my judgment upon the good I’m going to pour it out onto the bad. So this is how it stands. So as we begin to decay in our law making such as even what is facing the Supreme Court in same sex marriage and all these different things, we can expect more judgment and more rapid and more harsh judgment because we are living in a society where we determine not to have absolutes. There is no right and no wrong. Anything that I assume and presume that is right is right in my sight. And there is nowhere you can look and say, well this is right and this is wrong. So since no one is standing up for right and righteousness, and we as preachers look at things and what God is saying don’t worry when I sweep I’m going to sweep and my hands of justice move slow but when I grind it is perfect in the end. And so what he’s doing he is taking us as a nation through a grinding process. And as we see as the days go by the storms not so much Sandy but a storm throughout this land is going to be so severe that even FEMA cannot balance with her big checkbook what is about to happen."
"Just walking and seeing everybody in the same situation. Everybody had backpacks on like big, big backpacks, big jackets, everyone was doing what they could but, I mean, the sad part it's -- I think it was six hours walking, the sad part was just how exhausted everyone was. And it wasn't like a desperate exhaustion, it was just like, uh, so much shit to do. But the positive -- everyone came together, man. Rockaway is a resilient old place... It was like all right, let's go do so and so's basement and then everyone go there, get that basement done. And the next day, all right, what are we doing tomorrow? All right, we'll do so and so's basement. It was everyone trying to do what they can for everyone."
"We want to work with the same homeowners through the whole process as far as we can go. And right now, it takes us as far as pumping a basement, mucking it out, which is removal of furniture and soggy personal items, gutting demolition, which is removal of building components, and then mold removal, which is scrubbing out mold. And we are rebuilding in some cases. But we really don't have the funds or the capacity to do that right now. And going over our numbers, we have worked with the same homeowners through a lot of these jobs. We formed pretty good relationships with these homeowners. One thing I've noticed is people get kind of sick of all these different people coming through and, you know, taking data, then they never hear anything back from them. We all just wanted to avoid that because it's annoying."
"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."
"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."