Last Thursday, our Executive Director Christie Peale participated in a panel at the Repair and Rebuild in New York City Sandy Recovery Symposium II, which helped disaster recovery professionals across many organizations learn about the entire recovery landscape. Many homeowners across the City are still displaced or living in homes without heat or basic utilities. Disaster recovery professionals provide essential services to help these homeowners navigate the multiple resources and benefits available to help them rebuild.

The Center was invited to present at the Symposium to provide disaster recovery professionals with information on the programs and resources offered by the Center and our Network Partners. The Center is uniquely positioned to provide housing counseling and legal services citywide through our NetworkPartners.


Christie Peale (center) with Dave Rippon from LISC (left) and Benjamin Jones form NYC Build it Back (right).

Christie was joined on the panel by Benjamin Jones from NYC Build it Back and Dave Rippon from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The panelists discussed the programs available to homeowners through their respective organizations and how disaster recovery professionals can refer clients to the various programs. Christie highlighted the housing counseling and legal services offered by the Center’s Network Partners. The Center provides funding, training, support, and programs to more than a dozen partner organizations committed to Hurricane Sandy recovery.

In addition to providing the foreclosure prevention services traditionally offered by our Network Partners across the city, these organizations have been working extremely hard ever since the storm–coordinating outreach events, hosting clinics, knocking on doors, and participating in Long Term Recovery Organizations to connect with and assist homeowners affected by the storm. The Center offers Network Partners working on Sandy recovery support in coordinating their services and liaising with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Recovery Operations (HRO), which administers the Build it Back program. This coordination has proven vital as the recovery process continues and affected areas are rebuilt collaboratively.

Christie also emphasized the importance of cross-referrals to strengthen the delivery of services. Disaster recovery professionals can make referrals at any time to our Network Partners. A housing counselor or legal services provider can work with a homeowner while they are simultaneously working with a disaster recovery professional. In some cases, working with a housing expert can help a homeowner get benefits faster. Our Network Partners also make referrals within the Network — between housing counseling and legal services organizations — and also outside the Network to organizations like the Office of Financial Empowerment. Because these organizations are essential to homeowners’ recovery, it is incredibly important that they remain connected and continue to collaborate.

Disaster recovery professionals can refer clients to the Center’s Homeowner Hotline to be connected to a Network Partner. The Homeowner Hotline can be reached by dialing 311 and asking for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods or by calling us directly at 855-HOME-456.

We would like to say thank you to New York Disaster Interfaith Services, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, United Methodist Committee on Relief, United Way, and all the other fantastic organizations who worked together to make this event a success.