Thousands of coastal residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy are still struggling with basic housing needs. And while FEMA has spent — or at least authorized — hundreds of millions of dollars in relief, the government's resources do have limits. Into the gap are stepping private individuals and businesses, and their efforts can make all the difference for individuals and families who are headed into a very tough winter. Here are a few examples.
Emergency heat: Twin Star International, an electric fireplace manufacturer, has donated 31,500 space heaters to charity organizations providing Sandy relief. Five thousand of the company's Duraflame space heaters went to Island Harvest (a Long Island food bank) on November 11, and another 26,400 to the Salvation Army for distribution to affected households in New Jersey and New York.
Twin Star makes electric simulated fireplace heating units under various brand names, including ClassicFlame, Tresanti, Duraflame, and ChimneyFree. As a Florida-based company, CEO Robert Cohen says, Twin Star understands how rough hurricanes can be on people. "We want to do everything we can to help," said Cohen.
Housing: With funding from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation (a memorial fund for Stephen Siller, a Staten Island firefighter who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center), manufactured home builder Factory Expo Homes is making 15 single-wide homes to house Staten Islanders washed out by the Sandy storm surge, reports The Boston Globe ("Va mobile home builder helping NYC storm victims," by Associated Press).
And although it's early yet to be thinking of rebuilding decks or boardwalks, Biddeford, Maine composite lumber maker Integrity Composites has sent a truckload of its DuraLife deck and rail materials to the Breezy Point Cooperative in Breezy Point, Queens, N.Y., where 111 homes burned and many more were damaged by flood on the night of the storm. The company is coordinating with its regional distributor, Coastal Forest Products, and local retailer Breezy Point Lumber to get the material to the community organization.