Written by Tracy Gary, Special to RedCross.org
March 11, 2003 — A year and a half later, the American Red Cross continues to meet the needs of those affected by the September 11 attacks with a wide array of services.
The September 11 Recovery Program offers ongoing provision through Family Support Services, where Specialists are working one-on-one with 4,450 families of the deceased, injured, rescue and recovery personnel and affected residents. Thus far, more than 430 clients have utilized Family Support Services and other Red Cross assistance programs to transition into the next phase of recovery or communicated to the Red Cross that they no longer need support at this time.
A Red Cross Mental Health Services volunteer inside the Family Assistance Center opened by the City of New York with the help of the American Red Cross.
"We are pleased that 18 months following the worst tragedy in our nation's history, several hundred of the most seriously affected individuals have utilized Red Cross services as a bridge to recovery and self-sufficiency," said Alan Goodman, administrator of the September 11 Recovery Program. "Our goal is to help families reclaim their lives and their independence. We will continue that work with the thousands of people who still need and deserve our assistance."
New York City resident Nancy Morrison, who was trampled at the World Trade Center September 11, said her turning point was when Aneissa Rosas became her Red Cross Specialist about a year ago.
"From that point on I felt tremendously anchored; I felt that I had a true ally," Morrison said. "When I developed back spasms, Aneissa streamlined the process for me to get an MRI. She personally walked me through the voucher approval with concentration and focus, and I will never forget it. It makes a tremendous difference if you have an advocate when you are feeling isolated. It changes everything."
"I am financially safe for the time being because of the Red Cross assistance," she continued. "In addition to the gifts, Red Cross paid for various medical services and is covering the cost of my mental health counseling. I would be nowhere near where I am in my personal recovery without the Red Cross. I still have a way to go but I am so much better than I was. I am very grateful."
Red Cross Specialists provide personal assistance to clients, offering support and guidance. They are helping individuals access Red Cross benefits such as mental health and health care services, financial assistance and air purifiers and HEPA vacuums for downtown residents.
In conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Red Cross is assisting downtown residents with home cleaning through relocation, storage, and replacement of damaged home furnishings. Those with unmet needs will continue to receive support for the duration of the Red Cross recovery effort as they work to transition back to self-sufficiency.
Albertson, N.Y., resident Laura Baierwalter lost her husband, Robert, in the World Trade Center attacks. Her children, Veronica, age 14, Richie, age 11 and Raymond, age 7, lost their dad. Since the disaster, Baierwalter and her family have been working with their Red Cross Specialist, Paul Mauro, since the disaster.
"The Red Cross has helped in so many ways," Baierwalter said. "Red Cross connected us with four free support groups. I'm in a mother's group with about fifteen other women and each of my children is in a separate support group with other kids their age."
Other Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program services include the Mental Health benefit which helps thousands of individuals and families access mental health treatment. Red Cross Health Care Services provides injured clients with clinical case management, financial assistance with uncovered health-related expenses and referral to additional health-related resources.
Developed with input from those directly affected by the tragedy and other service agencies, the September 11 Recovery Program is consistent with the objectives identified by Senator George Mitchell. Mitchell served as the Independent Overseer of the Liberty Disaster Relief Fund, the Red Cross fund dedicated to helping those directly affected by the September 11 tragedies.
As of January 31, 2003, and in accordance with the Mitchell plan, the Red Cross has already used $741 million from the Liberty Fund to help more than 55,000 families cope with the death of loved ones, serious injuries, physical and mental health concerns, financial loss, homelessness and many other effects of the attacks. More than 14 million meals have been distributed to families and emergency workers, providing crisis counseling for over 238,000 individuals and operating 36 service delivery sites throughout the impacted states.
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