Hurricane Sandy and a People’s Relief

November 16, 2012

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc across the Northeast, and more than a week after power returned to Lower Manhattan, many public housing residents in Brooklyn’s Coney Island were still without electricity, heat and hot water. Critically for some, many high-rise buildings still lacked elevator service, leaving the elderly and disabled stranded as many as 15 stories up. Though FEMA, the Red Cross and the city government all eventually set up shop on the ground in the low-income neighborhood, the work of reaching those trapped inside was left to passionate community activists, including church leaders, tenant organizations, a group known as Occupy Sandy, and a small related group called People’s Relief.

Lauren Feeney, producer/editor; Cameron Hickey, camera

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  • Grace Buller

    Apolitical help to those in need is what is needed.

  • Diaphanous

    It would be great to have a link to the Amazon wedding registry mentioned. I searched Amazon, and it seems that there are a few Occupy Sandy wedding registries–I want to be sure to donate to the right one. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll do my best to spread the word. I wish I could do more. I’m in South Korea.

  • Cindy Timco-Lott
  • Robert

    Charity is such a bad word?
    Charity – benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
    2 a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also : aid given to those in need

  • TheNewsJunkie

    To what extent are they injecting their revolutionary messages into their relief efforts? Is their an effort to educate the recipients of these donations about the greater Occupy movement or is this purely relief work without politics or social agendas?


    What is needed more than ever, is help from the government in terms of getting a repair system in place,I to complete the necessary repairs that are needed to help rebuild lives. I am a victim that lost everything and still waiting for the power to be turned on. Femma has been a big help, but we need a quicker recovery in repairing our homes. so of us are still misplaced. Some night, i slept in my car..

  • Lyle Courtsal

    Lyle Courtsal • 42 minutes ago

    I took the initiative in a number of areas regarding NYC housing authority emergency response; it was totally inadequate just as I thought that it would be.
    One, I ran an emergency electrical power response thru Rhode Island emergency management; they have 400 adequate large skid-mounted generators that could have been wired in parallel to power housing complexes; no response to this date that I know of.
    Two; I requested a mortality/morbidity study for all tenants of subsidized very low-income housing in NYCHA given the inadequacy of the response and the planning behind it. This was put into the NYC health dept. that is supervised by who appears to be a republican. People on the ground should do assessments as they help people out on how the elderly/disabled are doing; anyone sick going to the hospital because of stress, no heat, no food.
    Three: Why did the NYCHA emergency manager end up dead a year after 9/11? Probably because he knew that they had done little or no emergency pre-planning and just left all those people swinging in the breeze to die slow in new nazi slow mass kill by budget cut. National Nurses United: Budget Cuts KIll!!

  • Lyle Courtsal

    You cannot but help having a personal perspective that can be interpreted politically after a failure of the magnitude that occurred in the Katrina response; cops went to jail for a long time on that one. Occupy movement can’t help but help out when all else fails and it is very political and economic when all else fails. Food for thought if you have any.

  • Gloria Bonelli

    Nobody that I’ve come across in the vast relief effort is talking politics with those affected by the storm. We’re too busy delivering food and canvassing to assess people’s needs, as well as helping with demolition and restoration. Also, while Occupy Sandy is at the forefront of coordinating the efforts, much of the hubs are in local churches and public buildings, etc. where many of the volunteers are locals. It is cynical, and outright mistaken – egregiously so, actually – to suggest that these efforts are based on ulterior ideologically based motives. The work that is going on is amazing. Simply amazing. Now that many of the elevators are running again, why don’t you take a ride up all those floors of apartments – which the volunteers climbed time and again, and speak with some of the tenants. See what they have to say.

  • Anonymous

    Are you kidding? Have you seen the magnitude of the job they’re doing? When and where do you think they have time to make fancy propaganda? The fact that they are doing the job is the revolutionary message.

  • Sally G

    As a member of Occupy Sandy N.J., I am all about getting folks assistance—that is it. It is about making connections among people, providing what we can, helping them do for themselves, helping get government assistance, whatever. If anyone asks me about Occupy, I will share my experience, but otherwise I simply approach as a local volunteer in association with (where I have been working most) the local presbyterian church.

  • Sally G

    Charity is in no sense a bad word—especially to those on the giving end. Many folks are proud, do not like to be a recipient of charity, would like to do for themselves. I have had a few folks say, no, we are pretty much cleaned up now; or no, we have done most of what we can, will wait until spring for the [detached] garage; no, we do not need your cleaning supplies, save them for someone who needs them more than I.
    So what most of us do is to find out what people want and help them achieve it.


    can gov’t foreclosed housing be available for sandy relief victims

  • James Hayes-Bohanan

    Thanks for posting this — it is full of geographic insights, some of which I’ve mentioned on my Environmental Geography blog at

  • Amie Walter

    “US weather forecasters have predicted an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season of seven to 11 hurricanes.” for this season! Is everyone ready?