Walking the streets of some of the hardest hit communities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy I met people who had lost everything and I couldn’t help but feel their despair. They lost more than their houses in this storm -- they lost their homes. These are the places they raised their children, created lifetimes of memories, sought solace in times of sadness and celebrated in times of joy. Some can salvage what is left and go back. Many will have to start over.
Throughout my career, I have focused on finding housing solutions for families not only in times of crisis but for those who struggle every day. In 1994, while serving in the Clinton Administration as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, I visited Los Angeles in the wake of the devastating Northridge Earthquake and was stunned by what I saw: $20 billion in damage, countless structures destroyed, thousands of people displaced from their homes. But what I saw in the weeks and months that followed was almost as stunning: people came together in an unprecedented way to rebuild, recover and get people back into their homes.
In the aftermath of the storm we have been fortunate to witness the incredible generosity of our fellow citizens from across the state and around the nation to help us get through this crisis in the short-term. It has been extraordinary, but we cannot lose sight of the long-term challenges we face. Tens of thousands of people experienced extensive damage or complete loss of their homes.
As the recovery from Hurricane Sandy continues, one thing has been very clear: no storm, no matter how powerful, can crush the indomitable spirit of New Yorkers. Even those who have lost everything have not lost hope. For those people, we must rebuild. The Empire State Relief Fund will help. By working together, we will send them home.
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO