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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from PR Newswire
Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Nine Years After Hurricane Sandy, Rebuilding Nonprofit SBP Celebrates Final Client, A 9/11 First Responder

October 28, 2021 GMT
Laura James, Community Relations Director for UPS (left) and Zack Rosenburg, co-founder and CEO of SBP (right) help the Bennick family celebrate recent repairs to their Hurricane Sandy-damaged home.
Laura James, Community Relations Director for UPS (left) and Zack Rosenburg, co-founder and CEO of SBP (right) help the Bennick family celebrate recent repairs to their Hurricane Sandy-damaged home.
Laura James, Community Relations Director for UPS (left) and Zack Rosenburg, co-founder and CEO of SBP (right) help the Bennick family celebrate recent repairs to their Hurricane Sandy-damaged home.

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Oct. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Hurricane Sandy flooded retired New York firefighter and 9/11 first responder Richard Bennick’s home with five feet of water. Richard gutted the first floor of his home himself but ran out of funding to repair his roof.

For the last nine years, every time it rained, water leaked into the house, filling light fixtures on the first floor. The family lived with tarps on the inside of their home to protect it from their hurricane-damaged roof.

SBP has been in the region since Hurricane Sandy hit, ultimately rebuilding homes for 723 families. A community group connected the Bennicks with SBP this past summer, and on Thursday, October 28, SBP welcomed the Bennicks back to a home with a new roof, new gutters and new siding. This welcome home ceremony marks the sunsetting of SBP’s Hurricane Sandy operating site for the region.

“It should not take nine years for families to have safe, secure homes after a disaster,” says Zack Rosenburg, co-founder and CEO of SBP. “Cumbersome, bureaucratic processes prevent people from accessing funding that would allow them to rebuild their homes in a timely manner causing further damage to homes and lives. We’ve been the only remaining rebuilding nonprofit in the area since 2016.”

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More than a year after Hurricane Sandy, millions of federal aid dollars were still untouched even though more than 20,000 people had applied for them. Five years after Sandy, when Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area, the system had still not improved. Some residents are still waiting for access to federal funding to rebuild their homes. When Winter Storm Uri hit this past February, those same residents saw further damage to their already-weakened homes.

Congress only approved federal disaster aid for 2020 Hurricanes Laura and Delta this past September 30th, more than a year after the hurricanes hit. Residents in southwest Louisiana also faced setbacks from the winter freeze and spring flooding. And while Hurricane Ida survivors in southeast Louisiana are just beginning their recovery journey, they’re already running into unnecessary delays in funding and housing.

Extreme weather events are only increasing, impacting more Americans and interrupting more lives. SBP’s work across the U.S, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas equips communities for future storms by building homes back stronger and efficiently, so individuals and families maintain their home equity and return to their lives stronger than they were before the storm.

The Bennicks are now better equipped for future storms with their restored home. They will no longer have to live with the leaks and water-filled light fixtures. “When it rained recently, it was the first time we’ve had peace of mind in years that the water wasn’t coming inside through the walls,” Peggy Bennick says. “It wasn’t raining on top of our dining room table.”

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SBP’s partnership with UPS made the Bennicks restored home possible. “We’re proud to partner with SBP to assist in the home repairs needed for the Bennicks after Hurricane Sandy ripped away parts of his home,” says Joe Ruiz, Vice President of Social Impact and The UPS Foundation. “As a dedicated FDNY firefighter who has served his local community we are honored to serve him.”

SBP HURRICANE SANDY IMPACT FACT SHEET:

  • 723 families returned to safe, restored homes in the region
  • 15K+ in volunteers from across the globe with volunteer labor valued at $5.2 million
  • Since 2016, SBP has led the ONLY home elevation program for homeowners in New York City, prioritizing low/moderate income families in areas at risk for flooding.
  • SBP has been the sole home rebuilding nonprofit in the region for at least the last five years.

ABOUT SBP
SBP, a social impact organization focused on disaster resilience and recovery, solves the challenges facing at-risk communities by bringing the rigor of business and innovation to drive social impact, create resilient communities, and streamline recovery. To shrink the time between disaster and recovery, SBP takes a holistic approach — reducing risk, increasing resilience and improving the recovery process — to effect transformational change in the disaster recovery system and restore opportunity and security for people and communities.

Since its founding in 2006 in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, SBP has rebuilt homes for more than 2,800 families with the help of 150,000 volunteers in 14 communities across the U.S. and in the Bahamas.

To learn more, visit www.SBPUSA.org
Facebook, Instagram & Twitter: @SBPUSA

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SOURCE SBP