FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCE CREATION OF NEW YORK HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER
Center to Provide Support Services for New York’s Haitian Community
Councilman Mathieu Eugene to Chair Newly Created Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center Communication and Outreach Committee
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor David A. Paterson today joined Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to announce the creation of the New York Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center. The Center will provide support services for the Haitian community affected by the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on January 12. The Center’s first day of operation will be Monday, February 1, 2010, and it will be located in the New York National Guard Armory at 1579 Bedford Avenue, between Union and President Streets in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is home to New York State’s largest Haitian community. In addition to the creation of the Center, Governor Paterson announced that New York City Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene will Chair a newly created Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center Communication and Outreach Committee to ensure the Haitian community is fully aware of the Center’s services.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve spoken with a lot of New Yorkers with family in Haiti, and their stories are simply heartbreaking,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “For many of them, the tragedy is compounded by the anguish of still not knowing the fate of loved ones – and not knowing where to turn for answers. Here in New York City, we’re doing everything possible to support Haitian immigrants, and this new Resource Center is the latest step in those efforts.”
“While we continue to support the massive international relief effort under way in Haiti, both the State and City are committed to doing everything we can to help our fellow New Yorkers affected by this tragedy,” said Governor Paterson. “New York is home to the largest population of Haitians outside of Haiti, and this joint effort is dedicated to ensuring that together we provide real support during this difficult and constantly evolving situation. I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg for joining with me to make sure New York’s Haitian community is cared for during this time of great need.”
“On behalf of the Administration, we at the Department of Homeland Security are proud to have extended humanitarian relief to Haitians residing in the United States,” said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We urge those who seek to benefit from the program to use the worthy resources available to them, and to also be careful that they do not fall prey to those who seek to take advantage of them in this time of great need.”
The Center will provide a number of services to the Haitian community, including:
In addition to these services, the Center will provide daily, official situation reports on the status of the relief effort.
The Center will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Information available at the Center will soon be made available through a combination of telephone and web-based systems. The Center will not take donations of cash or goods, but staff will direct those interested in donating to established Haitian relief organizations.
Upon arrival at the armory, visitors will meet with Resource Center staff who will assess their needs and provide language interpretation services if necessary. Visitors will then be guided to the appropriate services by the interpreter or volunteers from New York City’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. Before leaving the Resource Center, visitors will be asked to provide feedback about the services they received to gauge the effectiveness of the services being offered and identify any additional needs.
The Family Resource Center will be staffed by a wide range of State and City agencies with access to vital, reliable information, as well as with partners from the Federal government. Local community groups will be invited to offer services on site, and community information sessions will be held for the public at the Center. State, City, and local agencies that will be providing support services at the resource center, include:
The Governor’s Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center Communication and Outreach Committee will work to ensure strong communication of the Center’s information and mission to the community; will raise awareness throughout the State about the Center and its services; will foster dialogue between community leaders and the Center; and will relay constituent interests and concerns to the Center as it grows to meet evolving needs from the community. Members of the Committee, which will include elected officials and representatives from both the State and City, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Since January 12, Governor Paterson has pledged all available State resources to aid in the international relief effort. At the Governor’s direction, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs offered helicopters and C-130 cargo planes to the Department of Defense and continue to fly support missions for the Department of Defense; the Air National Guard sent personnel to Washington, D.C. to support the Air Operations Center’s Crisis Action Team. On January 14, New York City sent 80 police officers and fire fighters from NY-TF 1, the City’s urban search and rescue team to Haiti. During the week-long deployment the joint FDNY – NYPD team rescued six people from collapsed structures in Port-au-Prince. The State Office of Emergency Management has also been coordinating efforts with FEMA.
On January 15, Governor Paterson established the New York State Registry for New York Citizens in Haiti to help in identifying and locating New Yorkers in Haiti at the time of the quake. The online registry can be accessed by going to the Governor’s website, www.ny.gov/governor/ and clicking on the New York State Registry of New York Citizens in Haiti. You will be asked to provide the name of the individuals you have not had contact with and to provide some essential contact information. The information collected will not be used or shared for any purpose unrelated to locating and identifying family and friends in Haiti. For those who do not have access to the web, the Governor has established a toll-free hotline - 1-888-769-7243. The hotline is operational from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Marissa Shorenstein (Governor) (212) 681-4640
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