A Community Report: One Year After Sandy

Martin J. Golden

October 28, 2013

Senator Golden has been on the ground in Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach since day one of Hurricane Sandy. During the Hurricane Senator Golden was responsible for reaching out to Captian Chell of the 61st Precinct, the Mayor’s office and various city agencies to assist with evacuations.


Immediately after he helped to open and run the evacuation center at Resurrection. Those efforts included coordinating with the Police Department, Department of Homeless Services, the Health Department, MTA and the US Armed Forces to ensure transportation, safety and comfort. He organized a massive relief effort collecting clothing, supplies, food, water and toys at both his district offices and at Resurrection. Those supplies came in, in such numbers that, they were able to be distributed far beyond just his district.


During the aftermath the Senator helped coordinate a gas truck to come into Gerritsen Beach with the Army to give out gas to residents. He set up charging stations with Verizon. National Grid contacted the Senator for locations to bring thousands of cases of water and he made sure they were brought to Gerritsen Beach. Due to Senator Golden’s efforts VSP Vision Care came into our area with mobile eye care clinics to help individuals who lost or damaged their eyewear during the storm. Senator Golden and his staff helped to coordinate the locations of the Disaster Recovery Centers at the Gerritsen Beach Fire Department and the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club. Senator Golden and the Commissioner of the Department of Financial Services coordinated having mobile command centers come to Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach so that his constituents had access to filing complaints against their insurance companies.


When the Mayor’s office reached out with an offer of donating designer clothing to working women in our area Senator Golden was immediately inclined to help. He was able to distribute thousands of dollars of Tory Burch clothing. Senator Golden and St. Anselm helped provide gift cards to Toys R Us, Home Depot, Key Food etc. Father Thomas Zain and the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn raised $5,000 that Senator Golden helped bring to the Gerritsen Beach community. Senator Golden worked with a few contractors and got them to repair a few homes of senior citizens at no charge.


Senator Golden worked with Occupy Sandy in Sheepshead Bay and secured a 60’ trailer for them to conduct businesses. He also helped to transport supplies that were donated into the Sheepshead Bay area. He helped to secure nursing home placement for many displaced residents. He also helped people find apartments working with Brooklyn Housing and Family Services.


Governor Cuomo’s office reached out to Senator Golden to see where they might donate hundreds of Christmas trees and again the Senator made sure they came into Gerritsen Beach for distribution. The Senator also organized truck loads of toys to come to his district for two Christmas parties hosted for the children at Resurrection and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He set up a professional photographer to take family photos.


The Senator has been named a member of the NYS Senate Bipartisan Taskforce on Hurricane Sandy Recovery. As such he is a part of working on new protocols for gas stations and insurance companies. He has reached out to the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the shoring up of the Belt Parkway. He has hosted ten town hall meetings with as many as twenty agencies in a room to bring services and answers to the people that need them most. He has set up meetings with small businesses and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and NYC’s Small Business Services agency to provide assistance to those affected. He pushed for extending deadlines for Transitional Sheltering Assistance, the closing of the Disaster Recovery Centers, the end of accepting FEMA and SBA applications and Rapid Repairs to take applications.


Extending the Build It Back application period was a call from Senator Golden in September, as well. He opened an office in Gerritsen Beach for the months of June and July, and with the Neighborhood Improvement Association, registered over 100 residents from his district for the Build It Back program.


The Senator applauds DFS and Governor Cuomo for passing regulations for insurance companies in the event of future disasters including; Creating an expedited process for temporarily licensing new claims adjusters to help ensure an adequate supply of qualified adjusters in affected areas when large losses create a spike in demand for adjusters; Establishing a new online report card to hold insurance companies publicly accountable for their performance processing claims in Sandy-affected areas; Putting in place a temporary moratorium on insurers canceling policies in storm-stricken areas for non-payment of premiums; Creating a voluntary mediation process for homeowners and businesses disputing their insurance claims or dissatisfied with denials of their claims arising from Superstorm Sandy; Protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers by permitting immediate, necessary repairs and the discarding of dangerous debris; and broadening proof-of-loss-documentation to include photographs, video recordings, material samples, receipts and inventory listings.


Mayor Bloomberg’s call to the federal government to delay Biggert-Waters until FEMA’s affordability study is complete, as well as requests for the following have been put forth by Senator Golden as well. These include; mitigation financing that provide resources for homeowners to reduce risks and premiums, low-cost, high-deductible policies for lower-income homeowners not subject to mandatory purchase requirement and premium reductions for homeowners that invest in resiliency measures other than elevating their entire house such as structural reinforcement.


Senator Golden has had staff and volunteers appointed to the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Zone Program to make sure that Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach are not forgotten in the resiliency funding options that will be available going forward.


Senator Golden continues to expedite DFS claims, research Governor’s Fund applications, process applications for Build It Back and work with all levels of government to assure everyone is getting as much help as possible. Finally, he will continue to host town halls and to advertise all of the new information and grant possibilities coming in from the private and public sector.