Southern Brooklyn

Group Homes For The Autistic And Disabled Lose Millions From Sandy’s Floods


Several autistic and developmentally disabled people who previously lived in group homes in Sheepshead Bay are among the hundreds left displaced after Superstorm Sandy took a heavy toll on their facilities.

YAI Network, an organization which manages several such homes in the area, announced today that two of their homes in Sheepshead Bay were severely damaged, causing their autistic and disabled clients to move into temporary digs.

According to the release, one of the homes is on East 13th Street, and the other is on Avenue Z. Both were in Zone A and suffered a combined $300,000 worth of damage, mostly from the approximately eight feet of water that filled the basements.

“This is really like rebuilding the house,” said Vida Mani, the assistant coordinator in YAI’s Residential Department. “There was water and debris all over the place. One washer was on top of another, air conditioning units floated out of the wall, and we had a big refrigerator that ended up on a shelf.”

The East 13th Street home housed 10 residents and the Avenue Z location held six. All residents were evacuated ahead of the storm to different homes throughout Brooklyn, the release notes.

Aside from the damage, YAI said it lost $2.1 million in lost revenue due to a suspension of its day programs and medical practices, as well as overtime costs for workers deployed to help the displaced residents.

“This storm affected everyone,” said Stephen E. Freeman, CEO of YAI. “And it showed us so clearly that the people we support experienced the same sense of loss and disruption of life as other citizens. They couldn’t leave their homes, they couldn’t get to work and they couldn’t see their friends and families.”

Although FEMA reimbursements are expected to cover most of the repairs to the homes, it won’t cover the lost revenues. YAI has established a Storm Restoration Fund to not only cover some of the losses, but to upgrade their 100 group homes with permanent generators to prevent future disruptions. Donations can be made here.

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