News

North Star Fund Provides Additional $32,500 to Hurricane Relief and Recovery

North Star Fund is proud to announce our third round of grants to grassroots organizations taking critical leadership to sustainably rebuild communities directly impacted by Sandy across New York City and the region.

El Centro del Inmigrante - $10,000
To hire a temporary staff person who will be responsible for conducting needs assessments, research, and planning of the ongoing relief work among day laborers in Staten Island.

After fifteen years serving immigrant day laborers living and working in Staten Island, El Centro is uniquely positioned to respond to the immediate needs of this hard to reach community. El Centro set up a large tent in Midland Beach to serve as a make-shift hiring hall to provide workers a place to congregate and respond to employer requests. Many day laborers are engaging in dangerous construction work in mold-filled homes and commercial sites, and El Centro is providing critical health and safety training. El Centro will also seek to establish a permanent hiring hall in Port Richmond in collaboration with the New York City Commission on Day Laborers. This grant will increase their capacity, allowing El Centro to hire a temporary staff person to assess needs, conduct research, and create a long term preparedness plan. This is North Star Fund's second grant to El Centro to support the organization's vital ongoing hurricane relief work.  

Worker's Justice Project (WJP) - $10,000
To purchase a mobile office space to temporarily replace the destroyed Bay Parkway Community Job Center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

One of the many lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina was that immigrant day laborers, already some of the most exploited workers in the country, faced increased workplace hazards and wage theft by unscrupulous employers. Unfortunately, this trend is on the rise in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The Worker's Justice Project is one of the organizations in the New York  City fighting to protect day laborers' rights to safe, fairly compensated work. One site where WJP organizes, the Bay Parkway Community Job Center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was completely destroyed by the storm, leaving 500 workers without a space to gather, train, organize, and negotiate with employers. WJP will purchase a mobile office space so day laborers can stay off the streets and secure employment in a dignified way.  

Build It Green! NYC (BIG! NYC) - $5,000
To coordinate the distribution of salvaged building materials and donated furniture to families and community organizations recovering from the storm throughout the city.

As a program of the Community Environmental Center, Build It Green! NYC's mission is to keep reusable materials out of the landfill and help their community create green jobs and protect the environment. BIG! NYC runs two building material reuse centers in Gowanus and Long Island City, and a community-based composting program in Astoria. After the storm, their reuse center in Gowanus was submerged under five feet of seawater and one of their trucks was totaled. They were able to reopen the center with the help of 200 volunteers and are now collaborating with community organizations in the Rockaways and Coney Island. With the help of this grant, they will be salvaging building materials from the damaged homes and businesses around the city and collecting donations of furniture for distribution to families and community organizations most in need.
 
People's Relief
- $5,000
To convene a series of community meetings to address the unique disaster preparedness needs of those overlooked in Coney Island during Hurricane Sandy, including public housing residents, the elderly, the disabled, and monolingual Russian speakers.

People's Relief is a new grassroots coalition of individuals, families, and organizations working to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy in Coney Island. When many high-rise public housing buildings in the area were without power, heat, running water, or working elevators for weeks after the storm, People's Relief conducted one of the largest coordinated campaigns to identify elderly and disabled residents in crisis. They directed necessary supplies and medical care to those in need, and their canvassing efforts provided thousands of people with emergency assistance and supplies. In order to build their community's resilience and better prepare for future disasters, People's Relief will convene community meetings in Coney Island to address the needs of constituents that were overlooked by official relief agencies. They seek to bring community members together with relief agency representatives in order to foster open dialogue that will help bring critical aid to the most vulnerable people in Coney Island. 

Gerritsen Beach Cares Relief Committee - $2,500
To conduct community surveys, coordinate relief efforts, and rebuild the Gerritsen Beach community.

The waterfront township of Gerritsen Beach in Southern Brooklyn is a predominantly working class Irish Catholic community comprised of about 5,200 people. In the wake of Sandy, 2,600 homes were seriously affected by floodwaters or wind damage despite being declared Zone B, which indicates moderate risk. In the absence of an order to evacuate, few people left their homes and suffered through a dangerous storm that flooded homes and cars. Since the storm hit, the Relief Committee has been coordinating hot food, supplies, medical and counseling services, and even veterinary care. Because of its Zone B designation, city agencies have not prioritized restoring services to Gerritsen Beach.  As such, the Relief Committee is helping residents negotiate with insurance companies and Con Edison, and volunteers are conducing door-to-door surveys to identify homes with seniors and small children that are lacking supplies, electricity, and heat. Members of the Relief Committee are determined to restore Gerritsen Beach as a thriving community.

Learn more about our Round 1 and Round 2 grants for grassroots hurricane relief.