There are many people benefitting from a $7.1 million federal grant that allowed NYCHA to hire nearly 400 people – many of them NYCHA residents - to work on post-Hurricane Sandy recovery work at storm-impacted NYCHA developments. NYCHA residents living in impacted areas will have additional staff to clean NYCHA buildings and connect NYCHA residents to community services, which means NYCHA employees will be able to accomplish more restoration in a shorter amount of time.
|NYCHA Residents Being Trained Post-Sandy to Aid with Restoration Efforts (PETE MIKOLESKI/NYCHA)|
“When I found out about this, I thought it was a great opportunity to extend myself to help my neighbors and people in distress,” said Benardo Castro from NYCHA’s Jefferson Houses in Manhattan.
About half of the hired workers are NYCHA residents, many of whom lost their jobs as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy. Their new jobs are funded by a National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that lasts for up to six months. NYCHA was assisted by the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) in the hiring of workers through its Workforce1 program.
“I’m glad for this opportunity with good pay. It’s good to pick people with experience in the neighborhood to help, because we know (the people) and what they are going through, so we are sympathetic,” said JoJo Adeyemi, a NYCHA resident from Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn.
Some of the new workers will serve as custodians or Caretakers, who will clean NYCHA development grounds and buildings. “NYCHA welcomes these new employees who will provide great assistance to our residents in returning their communities and lives to a safe living environment,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea.
Also among the new hires are a team of Community Outreach Workers, who will be knocking on the doors of the 19,000 NYCHA residents directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy to connect them with any services they may need. NYCHA’s Community Outreach Workers will work later in the day and on Saturdays in an effort to contact every family. “We hope to ensure that every resident impacted by Hurricane Sandy has the services they need for their families’ recovery from the storm’s impact,” said NYCHA General Manager Cecil House.
As part of the recruitment process for the jobs, NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES), in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor and SBS, hosted five pre-screening events in Coney Island, the Lower East Side, Red Hook and the Rockaways to interview applicants. Nearly 2,000 people attended the events.