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Sustainable LI Honors Long Island Volunteer Center for Disaster Response & Recovery Efforts along with other LIVOAD Members at Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference

Theresa Regnante, United Way LI; Kathy Rosenthal, FEGS; Lori Andrade, Health & Welfare Council LI; Patricia Sands, Long Island Volunteer Center ; Amy Engel, Sustainable LI

From Sustainable LI Newsletter:

Sustainable Long Island held its Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference on Friday, April 12, 2013 at the Carlyle on the Green, in Bethpage State Park, highlighted by keynote addresses from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Texas A&M University-Commerce Professor Jonathan Bergman, interactive workshops, and the 3rd Annual “Getting It Done” Awards. “The Road to Recovery” themed event provided an opportunity for attendees to discuss how to rethink, rebuild, and renew our region moving forward after Hurricane Sandy. 

Hurricane Sandy came ashore last October and changed the lives of thousands of residents and businesses throughout Long Island. It brought some of Long Island’s most pressing issues to the forefront and demanded our attention. Many of us today may think of one word when looking back on the Hurricane: tragedy. It was a tragic event with tragic consequences, the likes of which we may never see again. But from that tragedy comes opportunity.

The Seventh Annual Sustainability Conference was filled with opportunity. The opportunity to raise awareness. The opportunity to motivate the masses. The opportunity to stimulate action. The opportunity to come together and spread hope…

…Our final honorees of the day were three organizations that represent the Long Island Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (LIVOAD).

Disaster planning and response has always been important on Long Island, but recent events have made it a top priority. It is clear that more formalized coordination is crucial to the future of our region and that’s where the LIVOAD steps in.

LIVOAD works to foster an organized approach to disaster recovery, identify what services are needed, and develop efficient ways to deliver them.

LIVOAD is made up of regional nonprofit, for-profit and governmental agencies and the following three of them accepted a “Getting It Done” award on their behalf.  

First up was the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI). The HWCLI, in its role as a coordinator of LIVOAD, facilitated communication between countless nonprofit agencies in the days after the devastation; providing assistance to storm victims and emergency management officials from the local, state, and federal governments.

HWCLI convened the LIVOAD’s Long Term Recovery Group, leading the way in providing opportunities for health and human agencies to assist storm-affected families months, and possibly years, into the future. Through their efforts they manage disaster response in key areas, including case work, home cleanup, housing, volunteering, and the special needs of the undocumented population.

Since the storm, HWCLI has not, and will not rest until all vulnerable individuals and families are on the pathway to recovery and self-sufficiency.

Second was the Long Island Volunteer Center (LIVC). LIVC was in a unique position to take on a leadership role within the LIVOAD following Superstorm Sandy; focusing on volunteer recruitment, management, training, and deployment.

LIVC facilitated hundreds of thousands of volunteers who contributed to the regional response; helping not only their friends and neighbors, but disadvantaged strangers who needed support the most. When the storm hit, LIVC had a system in place to accept offers from individuals volunteering as well as to capitalize on opportunities from local agencies.

LIVC worked with LIVOAD members in deploying volunteers quickly and effectively and has overseen a significant increase in volunteer registrations since Sandy.

The commitment to serve those who suffered most during the storm is just a small example of how the LIVC is a driving force for community service Island-wide.

The final honoree for the LIVOAD was the United Way of Long Island (UWLI). UWLI used their knowledge, abilities, and partnerships to play a vital role within the LIVOAD’s Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG); serving as Executive Committee member, fundraiser and overall resource before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy.

However their most critical role was raising an initial $1 million for the LI Hurricane Sandy Unmet Needs Roundtable, a funding collaborative which brings together donors to create a pool of funding that can be used to meet the unmet needs of thousands of victims whose insurance and FEMA disbursements fell short of covering rebuilding costs in full.

In addition, UWLI coordinated the 211 system, which was created as a single point of entry for families and individuals impacted by the storm to connect to vital services, including emergency food and shelter, assistance with home muck out and clean out, home reconstruction and rebuild, and the STEP project in Suffolk County.

This telephone hotline and online system has received thousands of calls for assistance since October 29 and is just one of the many ways the UWLI offers high impact solutions through efficient, effective, and transparent initiatives.