Budget Cuts Take Toll On 9/11 Emergency Aid Organization


The New York police and fire departments were the first to answer the call at the burning World Trade Center. Not long after the towers fell, the Red Cross came in. After that, with the wreckage still smoldering, there was confusion. Where would workers who escaped and nearby residents who were forced out go for long-term necessities like physical and mental health care, housing, a new job? The 9/11 United Services Group coordinated nonprofit organizations, directing people to agencies and eliminating gaps and duplication of services. Eventually, its function was taken over by the Disaster Preparedness and Response Program of the Human Services Council of New York City, an umbrella group of local nonprofits.

But this month, after the state declined to renew its financing, the program closed for good, reports the New York Times. It was one of several disaster programs affected by budget cuts this year. “Memories seem to be short in terms of what is necessary when there's a disaster in the city of New York,” said Nancy Wackstein, board chair of the Human Services Council. “This is not only about a terrorist attack. This is about hurricanes and coastal flooding and things like that.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/26/nyregion/26disaster.html?ref=nyregion

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