NY Times article on 489 Midland Avenue

Mr. Kader and others said that they had no desire to fight with the city. Still, they added, the volunteers had worked hard for weeks to help people in the immediate aftermath of the storm when official city aid was barely visible.

“If it wasn’t for the volunteer, nothing would be getting done out here,” he said. “If they wanted to start a site on Midland Avenue themselves we would clap hands and walk away.”

Several of the New York neighborhoods that suffered the worst storm damage are on Staten Island. Volunteer groups were the first to arrive in many areas where residents needed help and members of several groups said that the city should allow them to continue, even if official agencies assume more control over operations.

“We have been providing everything from hot food and tampons to bleach and crowbars,” said a volunteer, Hannah Scott. “The sense of having that taken away is creating panic.”

(Source: The New York Times)

ACTION ALERT: Support the community hub at 489 Midland Ave




Neighboring hub at 626 Midland Ave evicted today after 10 hour notice by owner of the parking lot from which they were operating.


Mayor’s office has declared 489’s free, community-run disaster relief effort “vending,” and the site has been “warned.


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


—Demand the Mayor’s office end community hub eviction and instead support hubs with space and equipment
—Public Advocate’s office: (212) 669-7250 9am-5pm EMAIL: GetHelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov


  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”


The emerging post-Sandy public health crisis