Sustainable Long Island, a non-profit organization that has been working toward economic development, environmental health and social equity for Long Islanders since 1996, has just been awarded $130,000 in grant funding from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in support of its focused recovery efforts in Long Beach following Superstorm Sandy.
"UUC's funding allows Sustainable Long Island to work comprehensively and holistically with every stakeholder in Long Beach on the road to recovery following Superstorm Sandy, ensuring the community is involved in every step of the process," said Sustainable Long Island executive director Amy Engel.
"This grant is a game-changer as it enables Sustainable Long Island to continue our efforts in Long Beach with the goal of meeting the needs of the many underserved residents throughout the community."
Working with the City Manager’s office, residents and business owners alike, Sustainable Long Island wasted no time in developing plans to rebuild and revitalize Long Beach after the storm.
Building a stronger Long Beach boardwalk, the centerpiece of the city’s community life and tourism, topped the organization's list of initiatives. Through focus groups, public meetings and surveys, the group gathered information from over 2,500 people that was incorporated into the boardwalk planning process.
"The unprecedented community outreach initiative that Sustainable Long Island spearheaded concerning the Long Beach boardwalk rebuild was phenomenal," said Long Beach city manager Jack Schnirman. "They truly are a tremendous organization and we are thrilled to continue partnering with them on projects as the city's comeback continues."
With a focus on five key areas, the organization will continue collaborate with Long Beach to rebuild and revitalize the city:
- Strengthen the city’s all-important tourism industry through collaboration with the local development corporation and creation of a marketing campaign.
- Assist the community's large Hispanic population to find new housing, develop new job skills and deal with psychological issues in the aftermath of the storm’s devastation.
- Reinvigorate the local economy by providing technical assistance and services to business affected by the storm.
- Develop a community garden or youth-managed farmers’ market to increase the community’s access to healthy foods.
- Create an economic recovery internship for college students, which would include environmental disaster recovery, community outreach and public engagement.
"Soon into the boardwalk redevelopment process, it became apparent to Sustainable Long Island that we weren't just addressing the economic, business, or tourist component of recovery,” Engel said. “We were addressing something much more: the human component, the people component. That to us is what makes the greatest impact."
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