Two years after being inundated by Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn’s Red Hook community is rebounding and moving forward

Two years ago this month, Hurricane Sandy brought widespread destruction to the Northeast. It also showed us that a community’s connectedness is as important as any seawall or evacuation plan in dealing with disasters. The waterfront community of Red Hook, Brooklyn, offers a powerful example. Red Hook experienced flooding that closed businesses and rendered many homes uninhabitable. Among the worst hit were residents of the Red Hook Houses, the second largest New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) complex in the city. After the storm, more than 6,000 Red Hook Houses tenants lived without water, heat, and electricity for more than two weeks. The silver lining, if there was one, was the way that people came together to help each other. At the Red Hook Initiative, a local community organization in Red Hook, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers, and awed by the strength of Red Hook residents who came out every day to cook food, donate clothing and offer housing to help their neighbors, even during one of the most difficult times in their own lives. The same determined spirit and genuine concern for neighbors that we saw in Red Hook in the days after Sandy are still visible as well, and growing stronger. This summer, a group of 70 NYCHA residents, calling themselves Local Leaders, came together at the Red Hook Initiative to learn how to take care of their community during a crisis. They learned CPR, First Aid, and disaster preparedness. They engaged in an emergency… [Read full story]

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