New York City continues to face an emotional time as it recovers from Hurricane Sandy. This has been an extremely difficult period for NYCHA residents, dealing with so much hardship and destruction in our vibrant communities. At NYCHA, we all know the struggles so many of you had to face, not knowing when your lights would come back on, or if you would have to go to sleep without heat for another night. To say you were inconvenienced would not do justice to what you experienced.
I want to stress just how hard we worked to make the situation better, from preparation to the moment Hurricane Sandy passed. The unprecedented damage from Hurricane Sandy destroyed entire electrical and heating systems throughout NYCHA. Our staff, assisted by the City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), utility companies and private contracted companies, worked to restore all essential services to every public housing resident impacted by the storm as quickly as possible. However, restoring power and heat was slowed down by extensive and corrosive damage to boilers and generators as a result of flooding from the storm. At many developments, we had to transport temporary replacement systems from around the country and connect them to the buildings to bring power and heat back to residents, a process that takes time. You can read more about exactly what NYCHA has to do to get electricity, heat, hot water and elevators back on line elsewhere in this issue.
In anything people do, there always is room for improvement. Now that the storm is a bit behind us, NYCHA and its residents can start to evaluate what we all could have done differently. We will look at additional ways we prepared before the storm arrived, managed operations while the storm was here, and provided assistance after the storm left, all with the goal of improving our service moving forward. And we will look at ways to protect our buildings so they will be less vulnerable during similar storms in the future. You have shown incredible perseverance and patience since Hurricane Sandy hit, and I thank you for that.
I also thank you for the way you came together. I have heard so many stories of neighbors helping each other out, whether it was checking on a senior, sharing food, walking up and down stairs to get supplies or just spending time together. I thank the Citywide Council of Presidents, Resident Association Presidents and all residents, many of whom also were affected by the storm, who selflessly helped others.
Together, NYCHA and residents will come back stronger and more resilient than ever.
Chairman, John B. Rhea