Bronx Health Care Facility Provides Shelter For Sandy Evacuees
Life was turned upside down for many people displaced by Sandy, and the stress became that much greater when some couldn't find a place to stay. But the staff at a health care facility in the Bronx took it as their duty to provide shelter for evacuees. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
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When Sandy hit, water swelled into the Coney Island health care facility where Lemuel Cox lived for about two years.
"I saw when the lights went out," Cox said. "The lights went off. We didn't have no light."
He was safe from the surge on the fifth floor of the Sea Crest Health Care Facility on West 24th Street in Brooklyn, but because he suffers from kidney failure, he wasn't out of harm's way.
"I can't do dialysis without electricity," he said.
Cox and others from Sea Crest were packed onto buses in search of a place of refuge. They sat on the buses for hours and were turned away from other facilities that simply didn't have the room to take in evacuees.
Ninety-nine of those residents ended up at Workmen's Circle, a multicare facility in the Bronx. There wasn't much space for them, but the staff worked overtime to make sure those residents' needs were attended to and they were as comfortable as could be.
"As the night progressed, we got more and more people. The number went up from 70 to 99," said Larry Abrams, an administrator at the Workmen's Circle Multicare Center. "So then we spent time on Wednesday evening trying to find mattresses, trying to find whatever we could to have people sleep on."
It was hectic, to say the least, having to take in nearly 100 patients when the nonprofit didn't even have beds for the original 40 evacuees expected. Still, the staff took it in stride.
"You're given opportunities to take care of people and you really don't want to turn your back on people," Abrams said.
Cox is one of the three Sea Crest evacuees that the Workmen's Circle staff continues to care for. The rest have been found a permanent place to stay.
Cox, though, said he doesn't mind being left behind. He's getting access to the care he needs and has already made a few friends. So for now, Workmen's Circle is home.
"This place is a nice place," he said. "I never believed they had a place like this."