a network and hub for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in Staten Island
Dec 2 UPDATE
DEC 1 UPDATE:
Neighboring hub at 626 Midland Ave evicted today after 10 hour notice by owner of the parking lot from which they were operating.
NOV 30 UPDATE:
Mayor’s office has declared 489’s free, community-run disaster relief effort “vending,” and the site has been “warned.”
MAYOR’S OFFICE THREATENS IMMINENT EVICTION OF 24/7 COMMUNITY-RUN HUB
Friday November 30, 1pm
—Come to 489 Midland Ave Staten Island, NY 10306 to stand in support
—Volunteers requested to help move the hub to 100% private property
347-210-3011 Aiman Youssef, community hub coordinator
646-220-6790 Hannah, Team Yellow coordinator
For comment from the Mayor’s office: Lisa Bova-Hyatt 212-788-0705
The community-run network of support for food, volunteering, supplies, clothing, and human services is an essential part of the New York City recovery efforts, and the mayor’s office wants to shut it down immediately. The mayor’s office is calling upon local police forces to “clear all outdoor sites” effective immediately. We are calling on all New Yorkers to advocate on behalf of these community run hubs that provide essential services to those whom the city and federal government, and support agencies, have under-served, neglected, or abandoned.
We call on the city, service organizations and police to support these crucial hubs by maintain location and services to community, offering tents, generators, and storage pods for supplies or finding free, nearby, and feasible medium to long term spaces where hubs can operate.
This Friday morning Staten Island police representing the mayor’s office have threatened eviction action against the crucial Staten Island hub at 489 Midland Avenue, in the heavily hit Midland Beach area. Aiman Youssef, a 42-year-old Syrian-American Staten Islander whose house was destroyed in the hurricane, has been running a 24/7 community pop up hub outside his property at 489 Midland Avenue since the day after the storm. He and a coalition of neighbors, friends and community members are serving hot food and offering cleaning supplies, non-perishables, medical supplies, and clothing to the thousands of residents who are still without heat, power, or safe housing. This popular hub is well-run, well-staffed, and has a constant hum of discussion, support, and advice as well as donations and pick ups and volunteer dispatch through another pop-up group, volunteers who call themselves “The Yellow Team.”
At the standing-room only Town Hall meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School last night, Youssef was the first to raise his voice in the question and answer period. The community’s expression of extreme need and frustration with the lack of official support made for a contentious environment where city government officials offered few solutions. At one point borough president James Molinaro asked the audience “You wanna shut your mouth?” due to their increasingly loud demands for community support and housing solutions.
We ask all New Yorkers and Sandy supporters worldwide to not heed Molinaro’s demand, but to speak out as Youssef did. Ask the mayor’s office to support, not evict, the well-run community support hubs giving crucial services to New Yorkers in need.
Staten Island links
NY Times article “ “Staten Island Volunteers Fear City Will Hamper Their Hurricane Relief Efforts”
LA Times article on Youssef’s community-run hub “For Sandy survivors, a Thanksgiving they’d never expected”
Volunteer group running out of 489 Midland “the Yellow team”
WPIX “Staten Island’s Storm Victim Town Hall Turns Into Yelling Match”
Staten Island Advance “Answers in short supply as exasperated Staten Islanders throng Sandy forum”