Some immigrant New Yorkers affected by Superstorm Sandy are struggling to recover and are finding it difficult to get help, according to a report released Tuesday by an advocacy group.
The report by Make the Road New York surveyed immigrants in specific communities on Staten Island and Long Island. It found that 40 percent of those surveyed said they had sustained economic damage because of the storm. On Staten Island alone, that figure rose to 60 percent of those surveyed.
The report said some of them have had to leave their homes and have had a difficult time finding new affordable places to live because of a limited housing market in the wake of the storm.
“I lost my job and I can’t find a new one,” said Maria Raquel Sanchez, an immigrant from Mexico whose Staten Island home got flooded, forcing her to stay with relatives. “Landlords ask double of what I paid for rent, and my landlord does not give me my security deposit back.”
Others have stayed in their homes and are facing concerns like mold contamination.
“The results of this study are surprising and worrying,” said Sara Cullinane of Make the Road. “We need the government to consider creating a task force to make sure that immigrant needs are addressed.”
Most had not applied for any kind of aid. The top reason given for that was that they didn’t know how. The report’s authors said that means state and federal government officials have to do better outreach.
Eligibility requirements are also an issue. People who are not here legally are not eligible for most aid but could apply for a family member who is eligible, such as an illegal immigrant applying for a child who’s a U.S. citizen. But the report’s authors said the process is confusing and can keep people from getting the aid their children might be eligible for.
The report recommends that outreach to immigrants on what’s available should be improved and that any planning for future disasters should include strategies for immigrant communities.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.