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National Service and Hurricane Sandy: Six Months Later

by Kelly DeGraff

Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy struck communities all along the East Coast.

An AmeriCorps member and CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer look at a 150-year-old home in Union Beach, NJ, that was cut in half by Hurricane Sandy. (Corporation for National and Community Service photo)

In the aftermath of this devastating super storm, AmeriCorps and national service members trained in disaster response are proving to be a valuable and cost-efficient resource for America as they help victims and survivors begin to rebuild their lives.

As the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, we are coordinating the long-term recovery with the Federal Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the American Red Cross, Points of Light, and state and local authorities.

We also serve on the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force, chaired by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan.

By forming these relationships, AmeriCorps and national service are able to expand the capacity of emergency and community programs that make a difference when disasters happen.

Under the leadership of our Disaster Services Unit, more than 3,600 AmeriCorps members from programs across the nation participated in the federal response in six states affected by Hurricane Sandy, including the first class of AmeriCorps NCCC members serving with FEMA Corps.

The impact of our work is clear:

  • AmeriCorps members have mucked and gutted more than 3,700 homes, including 1,443 in New Jersey and 1,958 in New York.
  • National service members also have leveraged the help of 30,000 volunteers, collaborated with the American Red Cross in operating 45 shelters, and coordinated with more than 200 nonprofits and community-based organizations.
  • In New York alone, they mobilized 16,000 volunteers in New York for 128,000 hours of service, valued at $2.68 million.

Although the work is far from done, we put together a select list of videos and photos that tell the story of the national service community's response to Hurricane Sandy.

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