Monday, March 18, 2013

Housing Counselors a 'Flashlight' for Sandy Victims

 By Douglas Robinson, media relations manager, NeighborWorks America

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Senator Schumer (NY)
and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan
Photo credit: Keith Getter
Calling counseling a "flashlight for homeowners in the dark", U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (NY) underscored the value that local nonprofit housing counselors provide to homeowners recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Senator Schumer was joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan at a press conference held at NeighborWorks America's New York City office (See NY1 video here. Full recording viewable in Chrome, Quicktime here).

NeighborWorks America, its local affiliates and partners have helped educate and train hundreds of homeowners and contractors about remediating the effects of Sandy on homes and businesses. Some specifics include:
  • Assessed 500 homes in Suffolk County Long Island for emergency repairs (Community Development Corporation of Long Island).
  • Provided 180 New York City small business owners and homeowners with affordable loans (Asian Americans for Equality).
  • Purchased 17 manufactured homes for displaced families in Monmouth County New Jersey (Affordable Housing Alliance).
  • Assisted with emergency clean-up and distribution of supplies (Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City) that reached 170 residents.
  • Created a three million dollar revolving loan pool for small businesses throughout New Jersey (New Jersey Community Capital)
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NeighborWorks America Regional Dir. Deborah Boatright,  HUD NY-NJ Acting Regional Admin. Mirza Orriols, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Photo credit: Keith Getter
With the exception of the lender NJCC, all these groups are HUD certified and have certified housing counselors on staff that practice according to National Industry Standards. Several have added staff to work with homeowners affected by the storm.

NeighborWorks America itself is also taking direct action to help storm victims. On March 8, we released a comprehensive manual for individuals and families affected by Hurricane Sandy, "Navigating the Road to Housing Recovery." Accompanying the guide are trainings for housing counselors and members of the public.  In addition, NeighborWorks America has hosted popular trainings for contractors on how to properly conduct mold remediation.

Learn more about all that NeighborWorks America is doing to assist with Sandy recovery by visiting You can learn more about the value of housing counselors by watching this video on foreclosure prevention.