Rockland County responds to Hurricane Harvey destruction in Houston, Louisiana

BY KATHY KAHN  

County Executive Ed Day on Friday, August 31, introduced members of VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) at the Fire Training Center in Pomona to let residents know donations of food, clothing and household necessities would be impossible to deliver to the flood-ravaged areas of Houston.

“We formed this group after Superstorm Sandy hit the region so we’d be prepared for another disaster here or elsewhere,” said Day. “This is the first time we’ve activated it and we plan to help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey as best we can.”

More than 80 percent of those whose homes were in the flooded areas do not have flood insurance. While they can apply to FEMA for assistance, that comes in the form of a loan which must be paid back. Many of those fleeing the storm have no home to go back to.

Rather than collecting clothes, furniture and food, Day suggested financial contributions would go a long way in helping “those who have lost everything” and said United Way of Rockland County will be coordinating the donations with United Way of Houston.

Chris Jensen, Rockland County EMS; Joe Zweig,Jawanio; Diane Serratore,People to People; Brian Gerber,American Red Cross of Rockland County; Sonia Wegman,Mental Health Association and the group’s  treasurer, Howard Hellman of All Brite Electric, are collaborating  financial relief efforts through the United Way of Rockland County. Diana Treacy, United Way’s President/CEO, said UWRC is working with United Way of Houston to get needed financial aid to flood victims. (www.uwrc.org)

Displaced pets are also being helped out of the rain-swelled city, and Hi Tor Animal Shelter (www.hitor.org), along with other shelters in the mid-Hudson, has people on the ground in Houston and plan to return with several dogs and cats that will need homes.

“We are already at capacity,” said Debbie DiBernardo, Hi-Tor’s President/CEO. “We have lowered our adoption cost to $25, which includes spaying and shots, to get as many animals adopted out as possible. We are also looking for people willing to foster animals that are rescued.” Hi-Tor can be reached at info@hitor.org or by calling 845-354-6308.