Five help centers, one in each borough, opened Saturday morning across New York City to assist residents affected by Ida's devastating flooding.
NYC Emergency Management and the NYC Department of Social Services says the service centers will stay open each day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to provide in-person support and information on essential resources.
The centers will be staffed by workers from city agencies, nonprofit organizations and community-based organizations to help New Yorkers seeking public benefits, health insurance, housing, food assistance and mental health counseling.
City officials are emphasizing that all New Yorkers can get help at these sites, regardless of immigration status.
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The five service centers are open at the following locations:
- Staten Island: 80 Willowbrook Road (I.S. 51)
- Brooklyn: 71 Sullivan Street (P.S. 15)
- Queens: 4602 47th Avenue (M.S. 125)
- Manhattan: 215 W 114th Street (I.S. 88)
- Bronx: 2365 Waterbury Avenue (P.S. /M.S. 194)
"The flash flooding we experienced in New York City was devastating for many families,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. "To help New Yorkers navigate the various services and resources available to them, we have established a service center in each borough with assistance from our agency and nonprofit partners."
Anyone affected by Ida this week was encouraged to seek our their nearest help center, call 311 or visit NYC.gov/ida. A detailed list of the specific services available at each site can also be found online.
Ida became the fifth-most powerful storm to strike the U.S. when it hit Louisiana on Sunday with maximum winds of 150 mph. At least 41 people have died locally -- 13 of those in Brooklyn and Queens.
Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new approach Friday to managing severe weather that he says will "bluntly be a jolt to people" but one he says is necessary to address increasingly frequent major flooding events -- as the scope of devastation from this latest one continues to expand.
His NYC Climate-Driven Rain Response plan involves three main components: more severe warnings, basement apartment evacuations and a 30-day extreme weather response task force to devise solutions quickly and expedite implementation.
"We can say now that extreme weather has become the norm, we need to respond to it differently. It's even different than just a few years ago," de Blasio said. "We've got to acknowledge it. New reality requires a new paradigm."