One-stop Sandy aid centers a great step for NYC
Earlier this week Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of NYC Restore, a citywide initiative opening Restoration Centers in neighborhoods ravaged by Sandy to connect residents and businesses with information and referrals to available City services and the many local community-based organizations lined up to help, as well as provide onsite FEMA reimbursement processing and access to a number of government agencies – all in one place, from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM. Call it one-stop disaster relief aid for hard-hit New Yorkers.
NYLAG, I am proud to say, will be a part of NYC Restore, providing services at the Centers. But even if we were not involved, I would be applauding the City for moving quickly to create a locally based, integrated system for people to get the help they need. For recognizing even before the storm struck that the devastation would demand immediate and unique responses from every level of government. And for taking responsibility for developing an ongoing plan for restoring our citizens and our communities, long after FEMA is gone.
The one-stop service model is a proven success in business, and increasingly in the social services and public interest sectors. Perhaps the mayor learned this firsthand as the founder of Bloomberg LP, a computerized information service for the financial industry that owes its legendary success to the famous Bloomberg terminal – you might call it a one-stop shopping machine for financial professionals.
The same model is certainly evident in the approach that New York’s Family Justice Centers have taken to helping victims of domestic violence, who NYLAG also works to support through our Family and Matrimonial Law Unit. The centers are community-based and bring together City agencies and community service providers, making it possible for domestic violence victims to meet with a prosecutor, speak with a trained counselor, and apply for housing and financial assistance in just one visit.
Another winning example of the approach is of course Single Stop, an antipoverty program initiated by the Robin Hood Foundation to address the multiple challenges facing poor people including hunger, access to health care, debt and unemployment with a range of services including financial and legal counseling and job training. The effort is so successful in New York that it has now expanded across the country.
I am glad to see an idea we know works well applied to the needs of our City in the wake of Sandy.
Blog Post by Yisroel Schulman
President & Attorney-in-Charge