Sandy Design Help Desk Meets the Rockaways

Sandy Design Help Desk Meets the Rockaways

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Oct 25, 2013
  • comments

"Here we are with people still struggling as if it were 5 days after the storm."

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, many affected by the storm are still struggling to rebuild their homes and lives. Some are still displaced or living in substandard conditions while others are stuck mid-repair having exhausted all of their insurance funds and personal resources.

The NY regional office in collaboration with its partners created a pilot project to pair trained volunteer architects and designers with Sandy-affected homeowners and business owners who have questions about their rebuilding options, building codes and design issues.

For one week, the regional office moved to its temporary location generously hosted by Margert Community Development in the Far Rockaways of Queens, NY for the Sandy Design Help Desk. Between Monday Oct. 7th and Saturday October 12th over 30 families and business owners benefited from the free design consultations of 25 generous volunteers.

Volunteers listened to questions of single and multi-family home owners and small business owners regarding their particular recovery issues, and they illuminated choices and design options applicable to their situation. Design consultations included review of current drawings and photos, creating design options, conveying building code and zoning information, identifying base flood map information, providing information on available recovery programs and other technical assistance.

With the support of NYC Department of Housing Recovery and Department of Buildings, the volunteers were given free training on new building codes and zoning regulations related to coastal construction in NYC, thereby elevating the knowledge and skills of local professionals to be better equipped to design resiliently. We thank our 78 total volunteers who offered their time and services and our great partners at NYC’s Office of Housing Recovery, Enterprise Community Partners, and Pratt Center for Community Development for making this rewarding and successful pilot project possible!

In the closing days of October 2012, Hurricane Sandy carved a path through the Caribbean before moving up the Atlantic and turning inland at New Jersey, striking many coastal towns. The storm moved north and created a storm surge that devastated the New York/New Jersey Metro area. The event caused major damage and loss of life.