Respond & Rebuild is a disaster response team formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to work with families in devastated areas of NYC for safe returns to their flood damaged homes. Since the day after Sandy struck the East Coast, we’ve been in the field, working with volunteer teams and donated tools to pump water out of homes, remove debris, and gut the damaged first floors of hundreds of homes in Rockaway, New York.
Now, potentially toxic mold is posing a huge public health risk in the area, and our next and most urgent phase of work is to perform free mold treatments on as many of these affected families’ homes as possible.
From our experience working in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, we know firsthand what a health crisis mold can become if not treated swiftly and effectively.
We have a proven process and the infrastructure to implement it. Time is critical. We need tools and supplies. With your help, we can get 250 families back into healthy homes this winter!
We’re a group of six friends with over 30 cumulative years in disaster response–from hurricanes to earthquakes, from wildfires to Haiti’s cholera outbreak.
When Superstorm Sandy tore across the east coast on October 29, 2012, we reached for our backpacks, pulled out some tools and made our ways to New York. Within 24 hours we had found our way onto the storm ravaged streets of Rockaway. The scene was reminiscent of another time in our lives when we first met, almost three years ago in the aftermath of the most devastating earthquake Haiti had ever seen. That was October 30th. We've all been here since.
Gathering as many tool donations as we could and teaming up with Occupy Sandy to expand our reach, we've spent the last month and a half working in over 100 homes, while regularly logging over 1800 volunteer hours a week.
In addition, we also do as much community education on mold, renter's rights, insurance protocols, and FEMA assistance as possible. We offer more than just physical help; we offer an organized and long-term support system for people in the community. The recovery effort in the Rockaways will be a long one, and with your support, we’ll be here to see it through.
Many people in the Rockaways lost so much when Sandy hit.
A 12 ft storm surge flooded the basement and first floor of almost every home on the peninsula. Now, six weeks after the storm, 12,000 families are still displaced from their flood-damaged homes and unable to return for the holidays.
- Mold is taking over those wet homes at an alarming rate.
- Short term exposure to some types of mold can cause illness.
- Long term exposure can cause chronic disease and even death.
- Until the mold can be cleaned and removed, homes are simply not safe for residents to return to.
- Homes left untreated will not be livable for much longer.
For around $1,000 per home we can obtain all the supplies we'll need to fully treat and de-mold a house so families can start planning their moves back in.
We do all this free of cost to residents–many of whom have been quoted upwards of $15,000 for the same treatments from bigger companies.
We’ve cut those costs using donated supplies and a volunteer labor force and can only continue to expand our efforts with your support. Our work helps the Rockaway community build back faster, and with a method trusted by experts we’ve consulted to develop our service. In addition, we offer trainings to Sandy-affected residents so they can take charge of the recovery process on their own, share information among neighbors, and stay informed.
In order to perform a typical mold remediation, our volunteer crews wear protective coveralls, goggles, respirators, gloves and boots to keep safe. Our method includes commercial mold killer, wire brushes, angle grinders, HEPA vacuums, and most costly, industrial strength dehumidifiers and heaters.
The list of supplies we need is long, but the list of homeowners who need these services is even longer.
The aftermath of catastrophes like this are heartbreaking, but the response we’ve seen from neighbors, New Yorkers, and the many people from as far away as Michigan, Alaska, and even Belgium who have dropped everything to be part of this relief effort amazes us every day. It’s been organic, exciting, grassroots, and beautiful. Being a part of this effort so close to home has, for many of us, changed what it means to be a part of our communities.
We’ve done more than clean out homes. Together with residents, community members, seasoned relief workers, and devoted volunteers, we have all built a people-powered coalition that continues to grow both a wider reach and deeper roots each day. And our sights are set on the long haul.
We want to see people in Rockaway return to their homes in the coming months, and we’re committed to being part of that process. We are neighbors training neighbors to help neighbors. And no matter how far away you live, we want you all to be a part of this. Along the way with this campaign, we can’t wait to share our progress, as well as personal experiences and the stories of the community that we’ve become so involved in over the past 44 days.
The progress we’ve made with volunteers and donated tools since the storm is amazing. In the weeks and months ahead, we know that with your support we can grow that progress exponentially. Our work speaks for itself. Help us to continue it.
Donate. Volunteer. Spread the word. Respond. Rebuild.
**PLEASE NOTE: Our fiscal sponsor, TRIPLE R PETS, is accepting donations on our behalf so that your contributions can be tax deductible. Rest assured that all money donated through this IndieGoGo campaign goes directly to Respond & Rebuild and the Rockaway residents we are working with.**