Volunteers Help Fill in Gaps When it Comes to Rebuilding After Sandy

Many homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy are still navigating complicated paperwork to get help for renovations. Rebuilding Together NYC is a non-profit that provides critical home repairs to low-income homeowners when they are facing hardships in complicated paperwork and finances after the storm. NY1's Van Tieu filed the following report.

Hurricane Sandy's flood waters devastated the Watson's family home in Jamaica. 

Homeowner, Tyree Watson, says another challenge confronted him after the storm: mountains of red tape while filing insurance claims, and seeking rebuilding assistance.

"People come up, they promise they were going to do something- and they didn’t do it," Watson said of his frustrations. 

His family discovered Rebuilding Together NYC.

"They stepped in and just came through for us," he said. 

The non-profit provides critical home repairs to low income homeowners in the five boroughs.  

Its team of staff and volunteers transformed the Watson's kitchen from a rusty mess into something to be proud of. 

"Overjoyed! Just wonderful. I’m just bursting [with happiness!]," Watson said. 

On Friday, Credit Suisse volunteers are back at the Watson home doing more repairs. Director of Construction Terry Scott showed them the ropes. 

"Remove all the carpet. Remove all the staples. Sweep up. Vacuum down real good, and now we are beginning the process of laying down the vinyl plank flooring," Scott explained. 

Scott said it's an important step since Watson suffers from asthma. The carpet is old and dusty. It wasn't replaced after it was soaked during Sandy. It became a breeding ground for mold and other harmful material. 

"It’s just not a healthy environment," Scott said. "So getting this dusty, dirty, old carpet out of here is going to improve the quality of this family’s life 50-fold.” 

Since Sandy, Rebuilding Together NYC has restored about a hundred homes that were damaged by the hurricane. For the month of April,the non-profit is focusing its efforts on Jamaica. 

Organizers say the projects are funded by grants, public funding, and corporate philanthropy. Stephen Dundon works at Credit Suisse and started as a volunteer with the organizations. He's now on the Board of Directors. He said it's a good feeling to give back.

"There’s so many homeowners out here that don’t have the ability or the income to be able to do that themselves so this is where rebuilding together helps fill that gap. "

To learn about Rebuilding Together NYC volunteer opportunities or program eligibility requirements: visit RebuildingTogetherNYC.org.

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