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Governor Cuomo Announces More Than 320,000 New Yorkers Served by Project Hope

Counseling Services Vital to Helping Survivors of Superstorm Sandy.

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Albany, NY - November 7, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than 320,000 New Yorkers have received the services of Project Hope, a crisis counseling program for survivors of Superstorm Sandy. Launched less than one month after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, Project Hope has been a constant presence within the impacted areas of New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties.

“In the aftermath of the personal turmoil caused by Superstorm Sandy, Project Hope has been instrumental in helping impacted New Yorkers to cope with the trauma from the storm and move forward,” Governor Cuomo said. “After the storm passed, this program provided help and counseling to more than 320,000 New Yorkers at a time when they needed support to recover. Part of our recovery will continue to be providing this help and restoring the resilient spirit of our State and all New Yorkers.”

Project Hope is an outreach-oriented crisis counseling program primarily focused on assisting New Yorkers with the return to their levels of mental health and functioning from before the storm. Crisis counselors provide confidential counseling, public education and connections to much-needed resources that help survivors move forward with reconstructing their lives. The support is provided confidentially and without a charge at a time and place that is convenient for the survivor. Crisis counselors travel to community centers and places of worship, as well as private homes, to meet and talk with survivors of all ages.

Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and administered by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Project Hope will operate through February 2014. Project Hope is a New York State Office of Mental Health directed program, which in collaboration with impacted Counties has contracted with more than thirty local service organizations to provide counseling and support services to individuals affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Project Hope continues to employ more than 600 New York residents hired from within the communities where they live, 518 of whom are full-time direct-service crisis counseling staff. At its height, Project Hope employed more than 800 New York residents in provisionary crisis counseling services.

Project Hope crisis counselors continue to be on the front lines of this disaster and were in many cases the first people to reach out to Superstorm Sandy survivors. They helped families return to normal, established support groups that will continue to meet independently of Project Hope and made connections with schools and senior centers to offer services to the most vulnerable of our society. All Project Hope agencies have been working with local community providers to communicate the community support, treatment and case management programs which will remain available to the survivor population after the departure of Project Hope crisis counseling services.

“The sheer number of individuals served by Project Hope is a testament to the tenacity of the crisis counselors who were on the steps of the homes and in the streets of the communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy. I thank our government and community partners for working together to help mitigate the impact of this unprecedented disaster.” said Acting Commissioner John V. Tauriello, New York State Office of Mental Health.

Dr. Adam Karpati, Executive Deputy Commissioner for Mental Hygiene, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said, “For people still experiencing distress a year later, it’s important to know that help is available. Please reach out to Project Hope if you’re feeling overwhelmed.”

Dr. James R. Dolan, Jr., Director of Community Services for the Nassau County Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency, and Developmental Disabilities Services, said, “Under the leadership of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, the Nassau County Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services has been proud to partner with the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Project Hope program in the delivery of Crisis Counseling services to those impacted by Super Storm Sandy. We are also fortunate to have joined forces with our Nassau County network of behavioral health providers that provide outreach, counseling and connection to community resources. These efforts have promoted resilience and facilitated recovery for those adversely affected by the storm.”

Art Flescher, Director of Community Services for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, said, “The dedication and energy demonstrated by our agency partners in implementing Suffolk County’s Project Hope crisis counseling initiative has been extremely impressive. The timely assistance provided to such a large number of residents is a testament to the value of the program and the tremendous need that was and continues to be met by this effort.”

For more information about Project Hope, please call LifeNet at one of the numbers below and ask for “Project Hope.” Callers are carefully matched with their local Project Hope provider agency that knows their community and is ready to assist with their recovery.

To contact LifeNet, please call:
English: 1-800-543-3638
Spanish: 1-877-298-3373
Asian Languages: 1-877-990-8585

Project Hope: Number of Individuals Served by Service Type (as of 10/21/13)
Region Individual/Family Crisis Counseling Encounters Group Crisis Counseling Sessions Group Public Education Sessions Total
New York City 117,396 36,666 42,579 196,641
Nassau County 45,404 3,901 19,978 69,283
Suffolk County 29,992 1,322 18,121 49,435
Westchester/Rockland Counties 1,806 304 3,631 5,741
Total 194,598 42,193 84,309 321,100