Respond and Rebuild is committed to the environmentally sustainable, community controlled rebuilding of communities post-disaster. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, our efforts are directed toward the Rockaways communities hit hardest by the storm and where we see the potential for many families to fall through the cracks.
The rebuilding of the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy has just begun. In the first days after the storm R&R began the process by pumping, mucking, and gutting flood effected homes and continues to do this work today with a focus on mold remediation. R&R has logged well over 10,000 volunteer work hours and has worked on over 200 homes as well as churches and community centers. Throughout this process we have partnered with Occupy Sandy, working together to make the values of mutual aid a reality in our recovery work, and sharing strengths and resources to increase our impact.
R&R was the first organization on the ground talking to residents about the health and safety threats of mold in flood-damaged homes. Seeing the public health crisis looming over hurricane-affected NYC communities, we acted fast. Our members’ experience in disaster relief and the construction trades allowed us to develop expertise in this field to become both qualified practitioners and advocates. Our process and standards are informed by mold research from experts in city, state, and academic institutions in NYC. R&R focuses on mold remediation in the Rockaways by informing and training community members in this specialized process, giving them tools and skills to remediate their own home and help neighbors remediate theirs, while also mitigating the confusion caused by misinformation about this crucial step in the rebuilding process. R&R’s mold remediation process is environmentally friendly and uses products with very low toxicity, in the interest of the people we work with and our planet. We are committed to taking the mold crisis seriously and acting as quickly as we can, and addressing challenges posed by this health threat with communities in the lead.
The mold crisis in NYC post-Sandy will not be a quick fix, but we will see communities through this stage of recovery to the best of our ability, always looking to increase our capacity to act. R&R is also looking forward to be part of a greener, more community-centered rebuilding process. Today, we are linking community members who have received insufficient assistance to rebuild with resources available through various non-profits and community based organizations, and in the months ahead as mold ceases to be an imminent threat, will take a hands-on role in getting residents back in to safer, more sustainable homes.