Who could have predicted that when I became the Managing Director for Architecture for Humanity NY that it would mean being the leader during the time of an actual natural disaster in our own city? It is safe to say that I had no idea how big this would be in the days that followed the storm. After talking to Headquarters and heading out to Coney Island and seeing house missing the back walls or completely gone, it became apparent that New York was going to need help recovering, no matter how resilient New York is. Seeing the power and subway system stay down for a week was unimaginable and there are still many areas without power and the trains are still not back to regular service. To top it off, a snow storm decided to hit us the following week bring temperatures down and forcing people from their homes yet again where the heat was not work yet. This was more than a little storm that did some damage. This is serious.
In the past the chapter has held fundraiser to support other cities worldwide after disaster has struck. As the New York chapter, our projects are located within the five boroughs of the city, so never before have we had to rebuild and renew our own city. We are at the beginning stages of understanding how the organization will be able to support the recover and rebuild after Sandy. On Wednesday we held our first field orientation and set up teams who went out to the hardest hit areas this past weekend to start assessing need and collecting stories about each community. We will continue to hold orientation and send out teams until we have enough information to move forward. This information will help the chapter and headquarters understand how and where they can provide support and help.
The amount of support form local members and architects has been overwhelming to say the least. I have never had to speak in front of over 100 eager people wanting to help through Architecture for Humanity NY and more people and firms keep reaching out to us. We have an amazing team in place that is spearheading the coordinating all the of these volunteers and compiling all the information. It has been amazing to see the architectural community come together and I am very excited to see where all of this leads and what projects the chapter and headquarters will support. In the mean time, consider volunteering or donating to help us Rebuild Restore and Renew New York and New Jersey!