When disaster strikes, the human services sector is called upon heavily to respond to people’s most critical needs—food, shelter, medical attention. In the weeks and months following the disaster their work evolves into a focus on areas such as rebuilding affordable housing, helping children and others receive from trauma, and helping people who have lost jobs, fine new ones.
There are hundreds of human services organizations in New York that responded to Hurricane Sandy, each with personal experiences, key learnings and a myriad of questions about how to respond if a similar disaster strikes.
The Human Services Council connects the agencies that provide vital services in the city. In an effort to identify how the sector can best respond to future disasters, hosted a forum One Year Later: Assessing the Recovery and Anticipating Another Disaster, as part of the organizations larger project that looks at Hurricane Sandy and the Human Services Sector. CDP was a proud sponsor of the forum, and through its Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund granted HSC $15,000 to cover costs of the convening.
More than 130 people attended the event representing the human services, public, academic, and philanthropic sectors.
During the event HSC released a report along with Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, “Far From Home: Nonprofits Assess Sandy Recovery and Disaster Preparedness.” The report offers the results of a new survey of more than 100 nonprofit human services organizations and provides insights into the role of human services organizations in Sandy relief and recovery, the impact of the services they have provided, the extent of unmet community needs, the quality of relief coordination by city, state, and federal government, and strategies to accelerate recovery. It reveals the ongoing housing and financial challenges as well as a clear need for improved disaster coordination going forward.
Press coverage of the event and report was significant with information appearing in 340 news outlets, helping to spread the word about the role of the human services sector.