MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Agencies in Westchester County are available to help following a natural disaster, but experts said Saturday that many people don’t always know about all the services available to them.
Janet Rolon, manager of the Hispanic Resource Center in Mamaroneck, told a group gathered at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Mamaroneck, that most people don’t know that there are agencies to help them until it is too late. Rolon spoke as part of a forum called “Learning From Irene: Coping in the Face of a Natural Disaster” sponsored by the Westchester County Long-Term Recovery Coalition.
“Our center near Columbus Park was personally affected during Hurricane Irene,” Rolon said. “Many people didn't know we even existed. We can refer you to agencies that will provide rental assistance, counseling and other programs.”
Dan Mancini, team leader of Project Hope, a non-profit organization in Westchester, said taking care of emotional issues is just as important as fixing a hole in the roof of a house. Mancini said members of Project Hope went door-to-door engaging the community to see what services they needed following last year’s tropical storm.
“People tend to shy away from their feelings but it’s important to speak about them,” Mancini said. “This trauma could affect people months later if not years.”
Frank Kortright, client services manager for the New York State Case Management Program, said his organization is available to deal with the health and safety of people in their homes. Though the organization doesn't provide financial assistance, it does work one-on-one with people to establish disaster recovery plans.
“We need to assess what needs you have to get you back to self-sufficiency,” Kortright said. “Our ultimate goal is to get you back to where you were before the disaster happened.”