Post-Sandy Housing Needs Highlighted at Montefiore-Einstein Event rss
Three weeks after Hurricane Sandy swept through the New York area, the region is moving from a crisis phase to a recovery process with a key focus on how to help people with their housing needs, said William Rapfogel, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a network agency of UJA-Federation of New York.
Met Council is one of many UJA-Federation network agencies on the frontlines in responding to communities affected by the storm and some needs, such as providing help for a boiler so a family can return to their home, can be met more quickly than others, Rapfogel explained.
He spoke to more than 130 guests at the annual reception of UJA-Federation of New York’s Montefiore Medical Center & Albert Einstein College of Medicine Division.
The event, which honored Dr. Irwin Merkatz, who is the university chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, was held on November 19th at the Price Center Atrium in the Bronx.
Helping to Restore Lives
Rapfogel said that with such great needs, the city, state, and federal governments will provide other housing options. “In some places there may be trailers,” he said, so families can remain in the neighborhoods where their children attend schools. In other places, Rapfogel continued, “there may be pre-fab housing that can take in a couple hundred families.”
“It’s about providing a good quality of life, and helping people to go on and restore their lives,” he added.
Rapfogel said there are going to be many issues besides housing in the high impact Zone A that was devastated. He noted that an expression “the Rockaway cough” is making the rounds, referring to a cough that people in the area are experiencing from the cold and exposure to mold as they clean out their homes. Rapfogel said that the cough is not limited to the Rockaways though as he’s encountered it in Sea Gate and other communities hurt by the storm.
Dr. Shalom Kalnicki and Dr. Arnold Wilson, Montefiore-Einstein Campaign chairs, each acknowledged the role of UJA-Federation’s network agencies in helping victims of Hurricane Sandy.
As he paid tribute to Dr. Merkatz, Donald Ashkenase, one of the Montefiore-Einstein Campaign vice chairs, said, “Through Montefiore and Einstein, Dr. Merkatz has established a unique network of women’s health programs and facilities throughout the Bronx and Southern Westchester that have reached out and enhanced the health of women and children.”
Dr. Merkatz said he was humbled to receive the award and that the honor truly belonged to the OB/GYN department and their commitment to the women and children of the Bronx. Dr. Merkatz, whose focus on women’s health has included fighting maternal mortality in Africa, shared his philosophy as he accepted the award: “No woman should lose her life giving life.”
Also serving as Montefiore-Einstein Campaign vice chairs were Dr. Allan Brook, Dr. Edward Burns, and Dr. Susan Klugman.