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LI Groups Receive $4M from Sandy Relief Concert

See how Robin Hood is doling out the millions raised through the 12-12-12 benefit concert.

More than $50 million was raised through the star-studded 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief held in December at Madison Square Garden. But where has that money gone?

The Robin Hood Relief Fund, a foundation that has been helping New Yorkers since 1988, is charged with deciding how the pot is divided. The pool they are working with is actually around $65 million though, because Robin Hood raised an additional $15 million before Bruce Springsteen even stepped on stage.

As of late January, $29.8 million has been doled out so far with approximately $4.13 million going to groups helping superstorm Sandy victims on Long Island, Patty Smith, spokeswoman for Robin Hood, told Patch.

“Our aim is to get 95 percent of the money from the Robin Hood Relief Fund granted no later than March 31,” stated David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood. “We will continue to do our best to get the money out the door as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

In the initial aftermath of the storm, Robin Hood was focusing on funding groups providing food, water, blankets, flashlights and other “emergent needs.” It granted $110,000 to Long Beach Christmas Angel Inc. for emergency relief, $50,000 to Long Beach MLK to provide hot meals for 150 seniors living in public housing for six months, and $40K to Feel Better Kids, of Rockville Centre, to provide clothing, blankets, medical supplies and transportation to doctors’ visits.

Most of the money being distributed now is going toward housing-related programs designed to help people safely get back into their homes or move into transitional housing. 

The latest round of grants issued on Jan. 25 includes $60,000 for the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, which was awarded a contract to operate the FEMA STEP program on behalf of Suffolk County. It provides temporary repairs so residents can return to their homes while making more permanent fixes. To date, the program has overseen nearly 500 assessments and completed 130 repairs. This grant will go toward purchasing building equipment and cleaning supplies, and support a full-time case manager for rebuilding, construction management, mold remediation, mortgage and insurance issues.

Robin Hood also granted $65,000 to Vision Long Island to fund materials and supplies required for demolition, debris removal, and rebuilding 26 homes in Freeport, Lindenhurst and Mastic Beach.

Another Long Island group, the Disability Opportunity Fund, was approved for $130,000, which will provide technical assistance for people seeking disability-accessible housing, financial and legal support related to relocation, and “gap financing” for 50 to 75 families.

Long Island Cares, which submitted its application to Robin Hood days after the Dec. 12 benefit concert, received approval in early January for a $155,000 grant. The organization plans to use the funds to pay for the South Shore service center it's opening in Lindenhurst on March 1. Like the center LIC operates in Freeport, the store, which will be located at 163 N. Wellwood Ave., will be a place for Sandy victims in Lindenhurst, Babylon, Amityville, Copiague and surrounding areas to get food, heaters, blankets, cleaning materials and other supplies free of charge.

The grant will also cover costs associated with the new mobile outreach unit LIC recently purchased. It will be deployed, based on appointments, to homes throughout Suffolk to provide assessments and supplies to families unable to travel to the Lindenhurst center. The organization also plans to hire two full-time staff, allowing it to expand the hours at the service centers.

Although Robin Hood can not issue a grant to an individual, some of the groups they are funding are providing emergency cash assistance to people in need. For instance, LIC will be distributing $1,000 reimbursements to 50 families who had to replace necessary appliances in their homes.

"This [grant] has been so, so significant in helping us move forward in helping people recover," Paul Pachter, executive director of Long Island Cares, told Patch.

The Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster's (LIVOAD) Long-Term Recovery Group was awarded one of the largest grants, $1 million, which will provide emergency financial assistance to meet the "unmet needs ... of the most vulnerable" Sandy victims. 

Gwen O'Shea, president/CEO of the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island, which operates LIVOAD, said the money from Robin Hood will be distributed to households with incomes of up to 250 percent above the federal poverty level. A family of four making less than $47,000 would qualify, for instance.

"It's incredible," O'Shea told Patch."I have to commend Robin Hood on its commitment to doing something for the region and targeting those most at risk." Historically, Robin Hood has only served the Five Boroughs, but, O'Shea says, "they understood the regional impact of the storm ... and had the flexibility, wherewithal and dedication to expand their service area."

Approximately 40 disaster case managers deployed throughout Long Island are working closely with Sandy victims to devise personalized recovery plans, and will be the ones to apply for this financial assistance on their behalf. (To schedule an appointment with a case manager, dial 211.)

Through a partnership with United Way, the Recovery Group has also received commitments from other donors, so it will be able to provide financial assistance for households meeting the "self sufficiency standard," which is an income no greater than $90,000 for a family of four.

The Long Beach Jewish Community Assistance Program will be getting a $150,000 grant from Robin Hood, which will ensure at least 15-20 additional households secure the essential cash they need for home repairs and related urgent expenses. Robin Hood also awarded $150,000 to the Young Families of Island Park to provide 150 families with $1,000 in gift cards, and payments for temporary housing and reconstruction. And Our Holy Redeemer, Freeport’s largest church, received a $50,000 grant to help affected families purchase furniture and household supplies, and cover security deposits and/or first month’s rent for those who need to move.

Long Island’s Hispanic Brotherhood will use the $100,000 it received to provide cash assistance for critical needs including rent, utilities, food and medicine, and to hire staff specializing in relief assistance. Robin Hood also awarded $200,000 to the Achiezer Community Resource Center of Rockaway and Long Island to hire additional social workers, $50,000 to the YMCA of Long Island, and $60,000 to the Long Beach Latino Civic Association.

To receive a grant from Robin Hood, organizations do not need to have 501c3 status, and yes, there is still time to apply. To fill out an application or to make a donation to the fund, visit robinhood.org/rhsandy.

Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 06:30 PM
This is the biggest scam on earth. Robin Hood has done so little for LI that they should be charged with fraud for even mentioning they were committed to helping LI residents. Long Beach got clobbered, but so did East Rockaway, Island Park, Bay Park, Freeport, Merrick, Meadowmere, Oceanside, the Five Towns, and others. There is never any mention of these communities in the media or by relief organizations and funds. Here is a tally I put together weeks ago when I realized how little the Robin Hood shysters were doing for us. * it doesn't fit in one comment box so I divided it up
Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 06:31 PM
1. Disability Opportunity Fund To help a family in need with special needs children, located in Long Beach, cover costs for household furniture and appliances so the family can move into a temporary house. $10,000 LI 2. Family Service League To cover direct relief expenses including food, prescription and medical supplies, lost employment income, and utility payments for approximately 350 families, as well as staffing for mental health services for 200 individuals as well as tax/benefit assistance for 450 families. $200,000 LI 3. Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc. (FEGS) To provide emergency cash assistance to New Yorkers who were displaced or impacted by the storm and to help families obtain emergency food stamps, shelter and FEMA benefits. $250,000 LI/NYC 4. Feel Better Kids To provide 50-70 families, one-third of whom have children with disabilities, with clothing, non-perishable food, blankets/bedding supplies, furniture, durable medical goods and pharmaceutical products, and make transportation available to take families to and from doctors’ appointments. $40,000 LI 5. Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN) To make repairs to some of the 19 soup kitchens INN operates on Long Island and emergency shelters which suffered damage. $50,000 LI
Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 06:31 PM
6. Island Harvest This grant will allow Island Harvest to purchase pre-packed and ready-to-eat meals for communities still in need, and allow them to hire the staff needed to handle the tremendous increase in demand. $200,000 LI 7. Long Beach Christmas Angel To help at least 100 families with children in the public school system cover pressing expenses, including those for housing and home repairs, basic furniture, appliances, tools, supplies, and medical and utility bills. $110,000 LI 8. Long Beach MLK To provide hot meals to 150 seniors living in public housing and to provide case management support services to low-income residents in Long Beach. $50,000 LI 9. Long Island Cares To provide on-site benefit counseling and other assistance in Freeport, purchase a mobile outreach vehicle so outreach staff can travel into neighborhoods and make home visits to more families, and provide limited cash assistance as needed. $155,000 LI
Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 06:31 PM
10. Long Island Housing Partnership To provide housing assistance for families living on Long Island including mortgage counseling for those in danger of foreclosure; to make available temporary housing; and to provide funding to repair heat and hot water, remediate mold and remove and replace sheetrock and paint. $200,000 LI 11. Make the Road New York To help train and place hundreds of individuals for jobs in Sandy-related cleanup in New York and Long Island. In addition, funding will cover legal representation for 400 Sandy-impacted families who need legal assistance due to the storm. $250,000 LI/NYC 12. National Urban League of Long Island To provide support and academic services to struggling students dealing with the aftermath of the storm. $100,000 LI 13. YouthBuild USA To provide the crew supervision required for YouthBuild members to work on FEMA-designated construction and rehabilitation projects on Long Island and in Far Rockaway. $85,000 LI/NYC
Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 06:53 PM
All this came from the Robin Hood Fraudation website. There are probably 200 organizations listed. 13 of that list is for LI, money to three of those 13 were split between NYC and LI. Almost all the money went to very specific services that would be needed by very narrow segments of the communities Sandy destroyed. Almost none of it came in the form of direct cash grants, which is what most people need because they are getting shafted by their insurance companies and FEMA. If you call the Robin Hood number you are told that they don't give money to individuals, only through existing organizations. But notice the very first item on my list is $10,000 given to one family in Long Beach. At least $170,000 went to people and organizations helping Long Beach, which is the only part of Long Island getting any publicity.
Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Thank you Patch for bringing attention to this travesty. Someone needs to let the world know about the Robin Hood Fraudation and other phony charities like the Red Cross which raises hundreds of millions of dollars a year and does nothing but hand out thin uncomfortable blankets/billboards decorated with hundreds of Red Cross logos and shitty military food called Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) but deserves to be called Meals Ready to Puke (MRP). I know you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth but when Robin Hood and the Red Cross rake in that kind of money, it should actually go to help people not wasted on public relations. Oh boy -- now you got me started!
inwood queens Resident February 15, 2013 at 07:31 PM
With all the insurance fraud and slim balls out there taking money and aide they didn't even need I truly wish they get what they have coming to them. While out helping people after the storm I witnessed the slim with my own eyes. People hording gas, a guy purchased all the generators at lowes then stood in the parking lot selling them for double. Hot water heaters being installed for 1800.00 twice the going rate. Basements being drained for $750 an hour. And the slim that take the storm as a way to renovate the first floor of their homes when they had no damage taking FEMA money they didn't need. I truly can't wait to start reading about the arrest that will be coming sooner then people realize.
Igwheet February 15, 2013 at 08:24 PM
There are always going to be slime balls. But there are far more real storm victims of and from what I know not too many fraudsters among them. FEMA is a much bigger problem because their people are so stupid and inefficient that it's almost impossible to get the help you need without getting an ulcer. The insurance companies are the real slime balls here and the field assessors who follow their orders to exploit the misfortune of desperate people by giving lowball insurance payments and frivolously rejecting claim they are paid to cover. They're the ones who should go to jail.
Mark Cohen February 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM
The Robin Hood Foundation is the biggest scam going. No help or money to Long Island....NOTHING. A handful of specialized organizations get a tiny fraction of the gobs of money raised. Call in the Attorney General. Something is fishy here.
joe congema February 18, 2013 at 01:33 AM
Just to add to the fiscal waste, I hope people know that organizations get fully reimbursed from FEMA for everything including all food supplies and volunteers hours they worked. I will never give another dollar to any organization since I have personally only heard one person receive any money as a result of Sandy. Terrible waste.

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