LSA Named Partner Agency for Community Outreach in East Harlem Relief Effort
outreach to affected families, especially those in the immigrant and HIspanic communities.
"“We have been asked by the Mayor’s Office for the Advancement of NYC to participate in a coordinated outreach effort to help those impacted by the gas explosion,” explained John W. Corwin, LSA’s Interim Executive Director after the First Lady's announcement in East Harlem on Sunday. “Effective immediately, LSA will be dedicating staff and resources to especially focus on finding and serving those impacted in the Hispanic and immigrant communities of East Harlem. "
March 26, 2014
OFFICIAL PUBLIC STATEMENT
Regarding LSA Family Health Service’s Response to the East Harlem Gas Explosion and Role in the East Harlem Relief Effort
The impact of the explosions that took place this week in the heart of East Harlem, just a few blocks away from our center, has been deeply felt by the LSA Family Health Service / Little Sisters family and community, which we have been serving for over 55 years (www.littlesistersfamily.org). LSA is currently accepting donations to help us serve families affected by the tragic event as is the Mayor's Fund.
LSA has been named a key partner in the East Harlem Relief Effort by the Mayor's Fund for the Advancement of New York City, along with Safe Horizons, Union Settlement and the American Red Cross.
A fundraising effort led by the Mayor's Fund will support a strategic relief plan with three primary components: a victims’ assistance fund to cover costs associated with rent, funeral arrangements and household expenses; case management and counseling services; and community-based outreach focused on immigrant communities, according to the official city press release.
LSA will be leading community outreach efforts with a special focus on immigrant and HIspanic communities. We are working with our institutional and community partners to explore and define and evolve our collaboration to best leverage our respective roles, areas of expertise and services.
LSA staff have begun a focused outreach effort to local schools and our contacts and clients in the community to encourage those who are in need of assistance to come forward. In particular, we will be contacting our clients in our database listed as residing in the evacuated buildings, as well as our contacts and partners in the community. We want to reach out to families personally, and let them know they can come to us for basic necessities, services and referrals to other sources of assistance. In particular, we will be assuring immigrants that they can feel safe and not fear that in coming forward for help that there will be any repercussions related to their status. Assistance will be offered without reservation to all those in need.
Our core Community Outreach Team includes Pura Cruz, Yelimar Quiñones, Fredy Cruz and Evy Yeager, who have already visited 51 schools, 4 shelters and 5 churches as part of their outreach to reach families who need ongoing support as well as those who have not yet come forward. The have left flyers in English and Spanish around the community, and have visited important community spaces like La Marqueta, not far from the site of the gas explosion.
“The East Harlem Relief effort is ongoing,” said John W. Corwin, LSA’s Interim Executive Director, "even as some families begin to move back into their buildings over the next days and weeks. Families remain displaced and traumatized, and are trying to bring some normalcy back in their lives while still struggling to access basic necessities. Over the past few days, we have seen families come to us who we have never seen before. Without exception, they are clearly still experiencing trauma and emotional distress. That's why we are working closely with our partners in this relief effort, Safe Horizons and Union Settlement, to keep these families supported by caseworkers and mental health professionals as they process and cope with what has happened."
To date, our staff has been offering support to affected clients by distributing clothes, food, medical and personal supplies, in addition to offering advocacy services, including translation, crisis intervention, family services and more. In the community, we have maintained a reassuring, supportive presence to those left homeless, traumatized or without resources or guidance. We will be reaching out directly to clients to locate and assess the needs of those affected, and evolving our services as those needs change.
A key part of our effort is focused on directing affected families to other agencies and government sources of assistance to expand their access to all appropriate sources of support.
(the ‘Little Sisters')
East Harlem residents in need can come directly to our agency at 333 E. 115th St, between 1st and 2nd Ave from 9-5 M-F. NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY. Call 646.672.5200.
Donations can be made online at www.littlesistersfamily.org or checks can be sent to LSA Family Health Service or by calling 646.672.5279.
If you would like to volunteer at LSA, please fill out the form below which will go directly to our Volunteer Director.
PHOTO: Rosemary Siciliano