Consolidate Waves For Water operations to maximize the impact of its outreach activities in the summer of 2013.
The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy was worse than ever seen because of sea level rise, and Sandy proves to be an example of the extreme weather events that are likely to strike the USA more often as the world gets warmer, says J-P. Von Ypersele.
Waves For Water is on the ground daily in the beach communities most affected by Sandy. Since the launch of our efforts in late October 2012, we have been implementing a three-phase program —supervised by Founder Jon Rose, a project director and two project managers— including First Response, Rubble Removal/Demo, and lastly Rebuilding. We currently find our efforts most widely focused on rebuilding. However, the stage of recovery is truly community dependent, as some have progressed faster than others based upon the extent of the damage sustained or other underlying factors such as local rules and regulations.
The APE grant will allow us to expand upon our programs, providing funds to assure our operation’s efficiency, giving our collaborators the latitude needed to lead successful efforts.
Currently, our 4 local New York and New Jersey Operated and Supported Relief Centers are critical in our efforts. We support them in several ways including assisting with organizational and operating costs; supplying transportation to carry out daily community outreach and volunteer transport; establishing on site storage containers to house supplies and expedite their distribution; funding community projects or holiday gatherings. The Relief Centers all provide an overwhelming sense of community and camaraderie.
Demolition and rubble removal has a massive psychological benefit to the communities affected by creating a clean slate from which to start anew. We work to support these efforts, stepping in where local resources are unavailable, to provide the resources needed – including safety gear, demolition and construction materials, trucks and machinery as well as volunteers.
Waves For Water is also heavily focused on rebuilding these beach communities in New York and New Jersey, through the restoration of homes and small businesses.
Our “Operation Community Uplift” grant program helps us impact the lives of Sandy victims with immediate gratification. Awarded in denominations of $2500 and $5000, the grants go to selected individuals and businesses that require an influx of funds to get back on the right track and alleviate some of the pressures they face. Lack of insurance, denial by FEMA, business or job loss and health conditions, or general financial hardship preventing forward progress are some of the parameters we look for when selecting our recipients.
With our “Operation Restore and Rebuild” program, we help reconstruct homes and businesses that sustained damage from the storm. We pay partner vendors and contractors to restore/rebuild the homes and/or businesses of individuals —pillars of their communities that have used all of their resources helping their community with reconstruction since the storm, people who are now destitute, shared community spaces like schools or firehouses— that have been identified and vetted through our networks.
The total budget for the project is split between Field & Management Staff, Management Costs, Meetings & Travel Costs, Operational & Field costs and Equipment.
UPDATE MAY 2014
The project aimed at establishing the preconditions to maximize Waves For Water’s relief effort outreach in some of the New Jersey beach communities most affected by Superstorm Sandy, helping residents in these communities get back on their feet before the second post-Sandy winter. Applying our extensive knowledge in disaster relief, we have been working incessantly on the ground and developed a three-phase approach launched immediately following the storm, to provide immediate relief and the long term rebuilding and recovery vital for the individuals and businesses that sustained damage from this unprecedented natural disaster. Our approach includes
- First Response —through essential supplies, food, and water distribution;
- Rubble Removal/Demolition, and Restoring/Rebuilding.
When the grant was received, our relief effort was primarily centered on its third phase: Restoring/Rebuilding. The APE donation allowed us to fund parts of the operational expenses generated while implementing Restore/Rebuild Programs in New Jersey, between September 1st, 2013 and November 31st, 2013; providing moneys that helped ensure our operations efficiency by giving our collaborators the latitude needed to lead successful initiatives. We indeed expanded our Community Uplift and Restore & Rebuild Grants programs, distributing grants to 30+ households, businesses and fire stations on the coastline of New Jersey.
The Project was implemented in the following geographic areas: Asbury Park, in Monmouth County NJ; Atlantic Highlands, in Monmouth County NJ; Beach Haven, in Ocean County NJ; Belmar, in Monmouth County NJ; Manahawkin, in Ocean County NJ; Ocean Beach, in Ocean County NJ; Ortley Beach, in Ocean County NJ; Seaside Heights, in Ocean County NJ; Toms River, in Ocean County NJ.
In order to select the candidates for our Grant Programs, our New Jersey Project Director interviewed several grant applicants who had gone through our internal approval and the local network’s vetting process successfully. The various needs, as well as the urgency of their fulfilment, were assessed through conversations with the applicants and members of their communities on of the candidates’ supplies and skilled labor needs for restoration projects, or of the financial pressures they are facing, and subsequently to the selection of Waves For Water’s programs grantees. Once the grants were distributed, Project Director, grantees, and contractors when relevant, worked so the projects were completed within the timeframe allocated at its start. In the three months when the programs were implemented, Waves For Water‘s Project Director liaised regularly with the grantees to follow up on the progress, and provided the necessary support to ensure its goal’s achievement.
The immediate results were for individuals to settle any pressing financial hardship they were facing, be able to return to their houses, get back to decent living conditions in restored homes, or finally re-open their businesses. The homes and businesses improvements at project’s completion were notable, and the improvements in the personal lives were undeniable. Because they could finally get their homes or businesses restored/rebuilt, or finally face the costs of expenses related to their basic needs, our programs significantly increased the grantees living or working conditions and therefore their well-being. All of the grantees and their families got their lives back. They found a new sense of hope and the energy that is essential to keep the reconstruction effort going at home and in their communities.
The top measurable results derive from the positive impact getting back on one’s feet has on one’s community, breathing new life into the neighbourhoods. One of this project’s great achievement is that, by giving the devastated communities’ residents the possibility to implement community based Rebuild/Restore projects, our programs have led to the development of very strong local support networks, including contractors, vendors, businesses, individuals, first responders, schools and community centers government and institutions. The ability to respond to devastation in the future has thus been improved, and this replicable model is used for other areas in the country and the world. Our only challenge, taking into consideration the extent of reconstruction still to be done, is that we are not able to apply our Restore & Rebuild and Community Uplift Grant Programs to as many people as still need it.
Example of Restore & Rebuild project completed with APE’s support:
– Matt Gregg’s aquaculture farm “Forty North Oyster Farms” rebuild project, who’s first harvesting began on October 25th, 2012, four days before Sandy, in Belmar NJ. Check-out his video here.