Ben Rosen
Director of Public Information
New York State Office of Mental Health

June 10, 2016

New York State Announces Re-Opening of Long Island Community Residence Damaged by Superstorm Sandy Flooding

More Than $1.3 Million in Grants and State Funding Drives Rebuilding of Community Residence in Island Park

(Albany, NY)- The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced the reopening of a community residence on Long Island for individuals with behavioral health concerns that was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The South Shore Association for Independent Living Inc.’s Island Park Residence was rebuilt through funding from the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and a federal Social Services Block Grant distributed through the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

“Superstorm Sandy devastated so many communities throughout the state, and today we are building back better and stronger than before,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan.  “New Yorkers are resilient, and this re-opening is a testament to the dedication of this provider to both the Long Island community and the individuals whom they are entrusted to serve. We are so excited to welcome South Shore’s clients back into their homes after such a tragic natural disaster.” 

The federal block grant of $1,051,606 was used to replace, renovate and repair the debilitated structure. An additional $335,000 in OMH funding was also used to finance the reconstruction of the facility. With this funding, Island Park Residence was elevated above the new flood level set by the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the house was reconfigured to be handicapped accessible. This enables the residence to serve individuals who have behavioral health concerns as well as physical limitations. Construction started in May 2015 and was completed in early 2016.

“The Island Park Residence provides essential support and services to fellow New Yorkers,” said Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery Executive Director Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “The new paradigm in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy is to minimize impacts from inevitable, severe weather events, by building in stronger, sustainable and more resilient ways – which is what the South Shore Association for Independent Living has achieved.”

“We are extremely happy to return to Island Park and our new and improved residence nearly two and a half years after Superstorm Sandy. The Island Park community has always been welcoming and provides the Agency and our residents with the support and acceptance needed to integrate into the community and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, which is, in essence, the goal of the community residence model,” said South Shore Association for Independent Living Executive Director Marge Vezer, LCSW. “Although Sandy was a disastrous event, the whole experience has shown just how resilient people can be. We appreciate the support of everyone involved, but especially the Island Park community. In particular, we would like to thank Mayor McGinty, Father Tutone and our many neighbors, who have been cooperative and understanding throughout. In the end, we were given an opportunity to rebuild a house that is larger, safer and provides a congenial, home-like setting, with private bedrooms and landscaped outdoor spaces, in a thriving community.”

At the Island Park Residence, which is a New York State Office of Mental Health licensed community residence, individuals receive behavioral health services in addition to life skills training to help them thrive in the community. These services, provided on-site, encourage independence and recovery. The building features 11 bedrooms and related living facilities, including common rooms and kitchen-dining areas. 

Established in June 2013, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery coordinates statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. Through its NY Rising Housing Recovery, Small Business, Community Reconstruction and Infrastructure programs, GOSR invests more than $4 billion made available through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program to better prepare New York for future extreme weather events. More information about GOSR and its programs is available online at


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