How the Poor Are Faring After the Storm (Not Well)

“’The supermarkets don’t even really want to sell anything. They’re open but if you don’t have cash, you messed up. And everybody in these projects, they take EBT…food stamps,’” a La Guardia Houses resident told WNYC’s Marianne McCune.” — Jorge Rivas at Colorlines reports that in the powerless zone, cash is king, and for low income residents dependent on food stamps and government assistance, that means they can’t buy food. 

“Nadia Televiak, 68, in 22C is out of candles. Antonia Rivera, 72, her next-door neighbor in 22B, is sick with a fever and is in need of food. In 20G there is an elderly man with a broken foot who only speaks Cantonese–luckily one of our group can translate. In 18H, one of the Wongs has a heart problem and they haven’t been able to climb downstairs. In 8A there are two young girls by themselves. They say their mom is at work.” Anya Kamenetz at Fast Company , describing some of what some independent volunteers found when they started going to door-to-door in public housing high rises. No official presence has been in the buildings since the evacuation order on Monday. 

“In the Union Square area, New York’s privileged – including myself – could have dinner, order a food delivery and pick up supplies an hour or two before Sandy made landfall. The cooks, cashiers and hotel workers who stayed at work instead of rushing home made that possible. They were a diverse group. Some were young people in their twenties. Others were middle-aged Americans who had never landed white-collar jobs. Most were immigrants.” — David Rohde at The Atlantic in a really great piece on the “hideous inequality” made clear by storm. 

“The greatest impact of the storm will be felt most painfully by New Yorkers already living in vulnerable and precarious circumstances.” — Nick Pinto in the Village Voice, with a dispatch from Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn’s largest housing project. 

“Staten Island is barely a dozen miles from lower Manhattan but a world away in terms of the attention it has received since superstorm Sandy hit on Monday night. Across the island, there is a pervading sense of injustice among residents, that their plight has been ignored by a city leadership and a media convulsed by the blackouts and flooded subway tunnels of lower Manhattan. ‘Only Manhattan, because of rich people,’ says Teresa Bar, who lives in South Beach. ‘They only think of Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan.’” — Adam Gabbat for The Guardian, on the response in largely working-class Staten Island. 

“The area of lower Manhattan that saw the most flooding on Monday night contains two things in bulk: public housing and financial institutions. Both were displaced. But one group was displaced with full wallets and credit cards that could reserve $400-a-night hotel rooms.” — Philip Bump in Grist takes a walk through the powerless zone. 

“New York’s skyline is world famous, but many who admire it don’t realize that a lot of those skyscrapers are people’s homes. For homebound elderly in high-rises, the loss of power and elevator access after Hurricane Sandy is a matter of life and death.” —Mark Garrison at Marketplace accompanies a set of volunteers up 25 floors to deliver food to a stranded elderly resident. 

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6 Comments / Post A Comment

OllyOlly (#669)

Oof, these are all important issues that hadn’t all occured to me. Our CEO just gave a mini lecture at our firm meeting about how people need to be prepared and hvae money saved to be able to leave areas and buy supplies, but that is so out of touch with the reality of what many people have the opportunity to do.

I also heard this morning that some people who actually could afford a hotel are being pushed out by reservations for the marathon, which also was awful to think about.

P.J. Morse (#665)

@OllyOlly Yeah. Everyone assumes you can “just leave.” It’s a hell of a lot easier to “just leave” if you’ve been able to save up for an emergency fund.

Though your CEO is right … if you have the wherewithal to buy the supplies, you should totally buy supplies. Then again, no amount of go-bags will help anyone stuck in Staten Island …

And people who earn hourly wages and live paycheck to paycheck are shit out of luck, too. People who use EBT for food stamps or public benefits can’t buy anything.

null (#1,101)

Wow, this is so sad and scary. Thanks for compiling and posting this.

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