how to get help or offer help in the nyc area (with updates as more info rolls in)

After a rough evening with Hurricane Sandy, daybreak has revealed that some of us have fared better than others. Lower Manhattan and parts of the outer boroughs, Long Island, and NJ are currently without power. The MTA subways have been down because of extensive flooding. Limited MTA subway service started Thur., Nov. 1.

Many in the local area need help or want to help. If you have friends, family, or colleagues in the NYC area, please let them know about the following resources and volunteer opportunities:

Volunteer opportunities for those who want to help

Find opportunities to volunteer now (as well as get info for resources) by clicking these links:
Lower East Side, Manhattan
Red Hook, Brooklyn
Astoria, Queens
Staten Island
Occupy Sandy

If you are local, you can volunteer – try here or here. Alternatively, e-mail your name and borough to

Volunteer opportunities through organizations
Food Bank for NYC.
Red Cross shelters.
Burners without Borders in New Jersey. These volunteers have helped with rebuilding post-Hurricane Katrina.

Other volunteer opportunities, including ad hoc ones, here. “Virtual” ones in other cities here and here.

Specific volunteer opportunities
New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is looking for attorneys to help them secure the legal rights of the storm victims. To volunteer to provide pro bono legal assistance, please email”

“Social workers needed to volunteer at the city’s 15 emergency shelters immediately. Both residents and staff at the shelters may be in need of social work support, from mental health and crisis counseling to help coordinating needed services and benefits. Interested social workers should call 347-396-7950. Please do not simply arrive at a shelter – call first! They especially need social workers to cover the night shift, from 8:00pm to 8:00am. They will try to accommodate shorter shifts, but they would prefer workers who are available for the full twelve hours.”

Lower East Side (LES) volunteer opportunities
CAAAV is looking for donations and volunteer help.

Morningside Heights volunteer opportunities
– This week, Nov. 5th onwards, 9:00am to 9:00pm: Riverside Church at 91 Claremont Avenue (between West 120th and 122nd Streets) in Morningside Heights, Manhattan is collecting supplies (no more clothing): blankets, hats, batteries and flashlights, diapers, and canned goods. Call them at 212-870-6700 for more information.

Resources for those who need help

Where to report power outages, fallen trees, sewage backups
Power outages and live wires should be directly reported to Con Ed (1-800-75-CON-ED) or LIPA (1-800-490-0075).
To report conditions such as fallen trees and sewer backups in NYC, use 311 Online, text 311 at 311-692, or call 311.

Where to find help at the federal, state, and local levels
A comprehensive list of federal, state, and local resources, including hotlines in multiple languages and how to replace food stamps, file damages with the IRS, etc.
Manhattan Legal Services Disaster Relief Legal Assistance Manual
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Guide to Disaster Planning and Relief Assistance GillibrandSandyGuidebook
To report storm damage to residences or businesses, which will help NYC document need for federal relief, please go here.
NYC small businesses
Federal Emergency Management Agency Resources for Disaster Survivors
NYS Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services One-Stop Information Page
Hurricane Sandy Helpline for New York State Residents: 1-888-769-7243 / 1-518-485-1159

Where to get food, water, shelter, fuel, medical care and recharge your cell phone
Daytime warming centers
NYC emergency shelters
Red Cross help in your area
Food, blanket, and water distribution locations and schedule in NYC
Water: New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s Water-On-the-Go drinking fountains will bring free portable water to six Manhattan locations with high incidence of power failure as well as to first responders in the Breezy Point neighborhood in Rockaway. Water-On-the-Go will serve residents in these areas from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. daily until power is restored to these areas…. Water-On-the-Go drinking fountains will be installed at the following locations in Manhattan until further notice, as well as in Breezy Point to serve residents and first responders:
– 23rd Street and 8th Avenue
– 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue
– 14th Street and 8th Avenue
– Houston Street and 6th Avenue
– Canal Street and Centre Street
– Monroe Street
Food for the disabled: “If you are a person with a disability living in Manhattan below 39th Street and are both without power and unable to leave your building, and are in need of an accommodation in the form of food delivery, you can contact Christian Valle at the Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities at 646-234-6488 to request this accommodation. Please note you will have to provide proof of your disability to receive this accommodation.”
Mobile phone recharging and wifi stations in NYC
More mobile recharging in NYC here
Fuel in NYC
Mobile medical care

Where to get support and counseling for mental health and substance abuse
Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7, free and confidential 1-800-985-5990
LIFENET 24.7 free, confidential help line for New York City residents
– 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373) in Espanõl
– 1-877-990-8585 for Korean and Chinese callers (Mandarin and Cantonese dialects)
– All other languages, including English: 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638)
– 1-212-982-5284 (TTY for hearing impaired)

How to get Disaster Unemployment Assistance
“Federal disaster unemployment assistance is now available to all New Yorkers who lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Anyone unemployed due to Hurricane Sandy is immediately eligible and can submit a claim to the New York State Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits. Please visit for details.

To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, residents can all the NYS Department of Labor’s Telephone Claims Center at 888-209-8124, or 877-358-5306 if they live out of state. Applicants should answer the questions to indicate they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. In order to receive benefits you must apply by December 3, 2012.”

How to get assistance with food stamps
“New York State has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace food lost by recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly known as “food stamps”, in areas hardest hit by the storm. Food stamp recipients will automatically be issued a 50 percent bonus of their monthly benefits to replace food lost starting this week. Recipients in these areas also will be able to purchase hot and prepared foods with their benefits.

The City of New York helped identify 77 eligible zip codes for the State’s waiver request. Beginning this week, recipients of SNAP benefits in those 77 zip codes and in Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester counties, will automatically have 50 percent of their October monthly SNAP benefit amount deposited in their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts. A complete list of zip codes in New York City that are included can be found at Additional zip codes in New York City that experienced extended power loss may be added as more details about the number of households affected becomes available.

Other current SNAP recipient households that have lost food purchased with SNAP benefits due to Hurricane Sandy are also entitled to replacement benefits. The loss must be reported by Wednesday, November 28, 2012, and the household must return a signed and completed form, found at, by close of business on Monday, December 10, 2012. The form is also available at local department of social services offices. To find your local department of social services, visit, or call 800-342-3009.”

How to get legal assistance
“The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has launched a new Storm Relief Effort to help New York City residents. They are placing their staff at disaster relief centers, community-based organizations, and hospitals. Their attorneys and volunteers will be onsite to provide legal advice to victims dealing with issues including FEMA claims, housing disputes, consumer matters and emergency public benefits. Those seeking immediate assistance with legal issues can call their new hotline at 212-584-3365 or email at For more info you can also visit:”

Where to get updates on resources from elected officials
Updates on Lower Manhattan are available on state Senator Squadron’s website
Updates on NY state are available on governor Cuomo’s website.
Updates on NJ state are available on governor Christie’s website.

If you have useful links, please add them to the comments. Thank you.


Written by katherinechen

October 31, 2012 at 2:50 am

Posted in uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Katherine: Thanks for a local update. Horrific pictures in the news. Prayers, thoughts and good vibes to everyone affected.



    October 31, 2012 at 3:12 am

  2. […] how to get help or offer help in the nyc area ( […]


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