Monday, November 26, 2012

Resources for Families of Gun Violence Victims

Sadly, people from all over New York City have lost family members to gun violence. When a life is lost, families want to ensure that their loved one’s name is not forgotten. Many of them stop by our office to find out how they can honor the lives lost; some do so by connecting to others in similar situations and some even start their own foundations. In the fall of 2012 the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center decided to create a record of all of the resources that support families’ grieving and rebuilding process.

The list is organized into several sections to categorize organizations, and includes:
  •         Organizations supporting family members of homicide victims
  •         Organizations founded by family members of homicide victims
  •         Support for Starting a Non-Profit
  •         Resources and support in the grieving process
Click here to view the list online.

This list is a work in progress, so please contact Ariana Siegel at or call 718-773-6886 if you know of additional organizations that should be included.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

S.O.S. Volunteer Meeting TODAY

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Resources (continued)

SNAP/ Food Stamp Reimbursement 

(reposted from Team Tish blog)

Individuals who receive SNAP (food stamps) will be reimbursed on their EBT card, for 50% of their monthly allotment to help purchase food lost due to the storm. People who receive SNAP and lost more than 50% of their food for the month because of the storm, may be able to get reimbursed for more of their lost food by completing and submitting this form.

People who receive SNAP will be able to temporarily purchase hot/prepared food from retailers licensed by the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA, using their SNAP benefits until November 30th.

People who lost food but not on food stamps, MAY be eligible for a reimbursement to cover the cost of spoiled food due to power outages from ConEdison. The application for that program is attached and available by following the link here

Resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 

The US Small Business Administration offers two types of disaster-relief loans to businesses:
  • The Business Physical Disaster Loan helps replace or restore damaged property.
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan addresses economic damage (e.g. lost revenue). 
Application Filing Deadlines:
  • Physical Damage: December 31, 2012  
  • Economic Injury: July 31, 2013
For more information, call (800) 659-2955, email, or visit Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800) 877-8339.

Resources from NYC's Economic Development Corp. and Dept. of Small Business Services

Emergency loans are available for businesses that experienced an interruption in business. Loans will be capped at $25,000. Visit or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Emergency Loan.

Federal Disaster Assistance (FEMA)

Anyone affected by Sandy – homeowners, renters, and businesses – can apply for federal disaster assistance. They can register at or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Unemployment Assistance

Anyone unemployed due to Hurricane Sandy is immediately eligible for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance and can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. You can apply by calling 1-888-209-8124. Application deadline is December 3, 2012. 


Those with questions about insurance / filing insurance claims should call the NYS Department of Financial Services emergency hotline. Call 1-800-339-1759 to speak to an expert. Hours of operation are 8AM to 8PM weekdays, 9AM to 4PM weekends.

Legal Assistance

Several services are offering free legal assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Types of assistance typically include help with insurance claims, preparing powers of attorney, help with guardianships, and preparing new wills and other lost legal documents.
For more information, please visit, or

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has mobilized a legal aid disaster relief program to help victims of the storm deal with a range of legal issues, including: FEMA claims, consumer matters, accessing public benefits, housnig, family law matters, replacing lost documentation/identification, and other issues. NYLAG is setting up legal access points throughout the areas most affected by the storm; please visit for updates on locations. To organize for NYLAG attorneys and/or the Mobile Legal Help Center to visit your agency, email Individuals seeking assistance with legal issues can call NYLAG's hotline at 212-584-3365 or email

US IRS Tax Relief

Extended deadlines apply to New York taxpayers, tax professionals, and relief workers directly affected by Hurricane Sandy. The New York State Department of Tax and Finance has extended tax deadlines to November 14, 2012. The IRS is also postponing various tax filing and payment deadlines starting in late October, giving affected taxpayers until Feb. 1, 2013, to file these returns and pay any taxes due. This tax relief is automatic for affected taxpayers whose address of record is in the federally-declared disaster area. All other affected taxpayers must self-identify for disaster relief by contacting the IRS at 1-866-562-5227

For more information about this assistance, please visit or a local Taxpayer Assistance Center at (212) 719-6631

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

S.O.S. Volunteer Meeting RESCHEDULED

Due to the storm conditions, we have decided to reschedule tonight's S.O.S. Volunteer meeting for next Wednesday, November 14th, from 6-7:30 PM. We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope to meet everyone and share ideas next week.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election day is TODAY!

Election day is TODAY, November 6th! To find out where your polling place is, click this link, or text the word "WHERE" to NYCVOTES at the number 877-877. Please note that some polling locations have been changed due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Las elecciones son HOY, el 6 de Noviembre! Para localizar su centro de votacion visite a este sitio, o manda un mensaje de texto con la palabra "DONDE" a 877-877. Les avisamos que algunos centros de votacion han cambiado debido al hurac├ín.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Resources

We hope that everyone in our neighborhood and beyond is staying safe in the days following Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose health or homes were harmed by the storm. We at the CHCMC want to make available any resources we can offer in the rebuilding process. Below you will find information about transportation, reporting damage, assistance for those harmed by the storm, and volunteering opportunities. The city continues to provide updates on school closings, transportation, emergency shelters and food, and more here.


For all the latest updates on transit service check
For bus service schedules check
For an updated subway map, click here. 


President Obama has pledged that the federal government will support New York City and other devastated areas in the wake of Sandy. Disaster Assistance can cover rent for temporary housing, grants for home repair, grants to meet medical and other disaster-related needs, unemployment payments, and more. 

  • To apply for Disaster Assistance: Call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (TTY for the Deaf: 800-462-7585) The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday until further notice. Or apply online at Smartphone users can visit:
  • You can report damage to your home or business sustained from Sandy here. Be prepared to answer questions about the extent of your property's damage.
  • Many people will qualify for emergency food stamps under the "Disaster" program. Please call 718-557-1339 for more information.

To report non-emergencies like fallen trees: call 311, text 311-692, or report online here

To report downed wires: call ConEd at (800) 75-CONED


The Mayor's Office is instructing New Yorkers who want to volunteer to email your name and borough to

The Occupy movement has also created a site to mobilize volunteers called "Occupy Sandy Relief," click here to register to volunteer with them.

We will have a collection box in front of our office TODAY, Friday 11/2, to collect supplies for donation to the Red Hook Initiative, helping the recovery process in the damaged neighborhood.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

S.O.S. Wishes you a Happy Halloween!

Amidst the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to our friends and families across the New York and New Jersey areas, we at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center wanted to spread some Halloween love to our young Crown Heights trick-or-treaters. We had two 'pop up' community candy tablings sponsored by S.O.S and YO S.O.S. 

The outreach workers, youth organizers, and mediation center staff hit the streets with candy, facepaint, and S.O.S. material to talk to people about gun violence. We were able to give out over 200 bags of candy and SOS “Don't Shoot I Want to Grow Up” palm cards to children and their guardians. It was a much needed event in the wake of the hurricane.

We understand the importance of humility in sharing our smiles from yesterday's Halloween community tabling, as well as the equal importance of bringing good news amid all of the tragedy the Sandy brought and left.

We hope everyone in our community and those surrounding us can stay safe and find ways to smile as we work towards stability in the days ahead.