URGENT: The deadline for Governor Cuomo to designate the Lower East Side an Opportunity Zone has been extended to APRIL 20TH, 2018. This designation will attract impact investment in community resilience, renewable energy, energy efficiency, jobs, and economic development. Contact your elected officials and tell them to urge Gov. Cuomo to support the measure! Read LESReady’s letter in support here.
LESReady! Summary of Accomplishments – Fiscal Year 2017
In FY17, LESReady! received funding from the New York Community Trust to carry out community disaster preparedness work and implement various projects aimed at resiliency and sustainability. Our accomplishments during that time are detailed below:
LESReady! Disaster Plan
Our community-based disaster plan outlines disaster mode roles and responsibilities and provides member organizations with pre-disaster planning resources. In 2017, member organizations regularly met to review and revise the plan, learn concepts and terminology and practiced launching the plan based on a series of mock scenarios.
Monthly membership and executive committee meetings were held at rotating locations of member organizations. Committee meetings were held as needed. Agendas focused on community outreach and education, training, coordination of services, event planning, member organization and agency presentations and planning for 2018. Member organizations signed a new LES Ready! Memorandum of Understanding. Recruitment of new member organizations continues to take place.
Beyond The Grid
In 2017, the Beyond The Grid team developed a design and engineering concept for a community micro-grid as well as an organizational model, and hosted various stakeholder visioning sessions throughout the community. They conducted solar assessments of 41 of the approximately 100 low- to moderate-income MHAs, HDFCs, and limited equity co-ops on the Lower East Side.
Pass-Through Grants supported member organization’s disaster preparedness and resiliency activities. These included a public forum at the New School; shared community dinners with clients, staff and community members; block association education and training; and the purchase of equipment and training for a 437 unit Mitchell-Lama complex.
#Sandy5 and Sandyween Events
LESReady! was a lead organization in the development and organizing of the #Sandy5 March on October 28th. Attended by thousands, the purpose was a call to New York elected officials and others to address inequality and environmental injustice. LESReady! held its 2nd Annual Sandyween at PS 15, a longtime struggling school located in District 1. It included disaster preparedness activities for children and adults and resources from fifteen organizations that tabled. Over 100 people attended.
Collaboration with NYC
Though LESReady! has had contacts within NYC government for some time, in 2017 we began exploring concrete strategies for post-disaster collaboration. These include potential partnerships with NYC Emergency Management’s food distribution efforts and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Post-Emergency Canvassing Operations (PECO).
Radio Repeater & Communications Training
In July 2017, LESReady’s emergency radio repeater was installed on the roof of member organization Village East Towers. The FCC-licensed repeater allows us to communicate on a private channel with up to 40 users. LESReady! members tested the radios throughout the Lower East Side, a training that was captured by a local documentary filmmaker for the film “COOKED.”
Outreach to Houses of Worship
In winter 2017, LESReady! hired two interns to conduct resiliency and disaster preparedness outreach to houses of worship on the LES. Specifically, they encouraged faith leaders to enroll in New York Disaster Interfaith Services’ (NYDIS) HOWAlert program, a free emergency text alert system, and to consider becoming LESReady! members. The interns reached out to 121 houses of worship by phone, mail, email, and in-person.
Public Comment – East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR)
On March 24th the City released its 13th Proposed Amendment to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project – the extension of which we advocated for – based on community feedback and new design challenges. LESReady! submitted public comment about the importance of climate science and the need to defend against displacement, both natural and man-made. Our members were also quoted in a WNYC News story.
Hurricane Season 2017
In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, LESReady! released a Hurricane Relief Statement via our website and social media channels with suggestions on where to direct financial and material contributions. The statement included information on contacting loved ones in Puerto Rico. LESReady! and its members also collected/donated supplies to be shipped to Puerto Rico such as non-GMO seeds, solar lanterns, and bike repair kits.
Severe Weather Outreach
LESReady! members utilized the coalition’s website and social media channels to post and share updates regarding severe weather and other emergency events on the Lower East Side, such as blizzards, extreme cold, utility disruptions, coastal flooding, and extreme heat. Members also flyered apartments, storefronts, and community events with seasonal preparedness information.