Gwen O'Shea: Assist Long Island's Most Vulnerable | A Minute Smarter

Gwen O'Shea of Long Island's Health & Welfare Council asks for community support for all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.



Gwen O'Shea, President & CEO, Health & Welfare Council of Long Island

For many, Hurricane Sandy seems like just another storm that came and went six months ago. Yet for thousands, their lives have been profoundly impacted—altered in dramatic ways that were unexpected and life changing.

While every disaster is different, there are often a few consistencies.  Perhaps the one most painful, is the fact that those already vulnerable and struggling, become further marginalized. Our seniors, children, veterans, individuals with disabilities and those struggling financially are disproportionately impacted by the disaster. For families who were struggling before the storm- Sandy threw them over financial cliff.  Sandy's toll is exponentially greater for these families.

As Long Island rebuilds and recovers, there are many who have the financial capacity and emotional supports to ensure their own recovery.  But not everyone will.  We must address the needs of those most vulnerable in our community with assistance in housing, social safety net supports, mental health services. For Long Island to thrive, to be resilient and sustainable, we need all members of our community to recover.  Our planning must incorporate these issues—our region's economic future depends on it.

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